PMID: 790460Sep 1, 1976Paper

Cardiovascular adjustments to exercise: hemodynamics and mechanisms

Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases
S F Vatner, M Pagani


The integrated response to severe exercise involves fourfold to fivefold increases in cardiac output, which are due primarily to increases in cardiac rate and to a lesser extent to augmentation of stroke volume. The increase in stroke volume is partly due to an increase in end-diastolic cardiac size (Frank-Starling mechanism) and secondarily due to a reduction in end-systolic cardiac size. The full role of the Frank-Starling mechanism is masked by the concomitant tachycardia. The reduction in end-systolic dimensions can be related to increased contractility, mediated by beta adrenergic stimulation. Beta adrenergic blockade prevents the inotropic response, the decrease in end-systolic dimensions, and approximately 50% of the tachycardia of exercise. The enhanced cardiac output is distributed preferentially to the exercising muscles including the heart. Blood flow to the heart increases fourfold to fivefold as well, mainly reflecting the augmented metabolic requirements of the myocardium due to near maximal increases in cardiac rate and contractility. Blood flow to the inactive viscera (e.g., kidney and gastrointestinal tract) is maintained during severe exercise in the normal dog. It is suggested that local autoregulatory mechan...Continue Reading


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