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Concept: Mean arterial pressure


Background Heat therapy has been suggested to improve cardiovascular function. However, the effects of hot sauna exposure on arterial compliance and the dynamics of blood flow and pressure have not been well documented. Thus, we investigated the short-term effects of sauna bathing on arterial stiffness and haemodynamics. Design The design was an experimental non-randomised study. Methods There were 102 asymptomatic participants (mean age, 51.9 years) who had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Participants were exposed to a single sauna session (duration: 30 min; temperature: 73℃; humidity: 10-20%). Pulse wave velocity, augmentation index, heart rate, blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, pulse pressure, augmented pressure and left ventricular ejection time were assessed before, immediately after, and 30 min after a single sauna session. Results Sauna bathing led to reductions in pulse wave velocity, blood pressure, mean arterial pressure and left ventricular ejection time. Mean pulse wave velocity value before sauna was 9.8 m/s and decreased to 8.6 m/s immediately after sauna bathing ( p < 0.001 for difference), and was 9.0 m/s after the 30-minute recovery period ( p < 0.001 for analysis of variance). Systolic blood pressure was 137 mm Hg before sauna bathing, decreasing to 130 mm Hg after sauna ( p < 0.001), which remained sustained during the 30-minute recovery phase ( p < 0.001 for analysis of variance). After a single sauna session, diastolic blood pressure decreased from 82 to 75 mm Hg, mean arterial pressure from 99.4 to 93.6 mm Hg and left ventricular ejection time from 307 to 278 m/s ( p < 0.001 for all differences). Pulse pressure was 42.7 mm Hg before the sauna, 44.9 mm Hg immediately after the sauna, and reduced to 39.3 mm Hg after 30-minutes recovery ( p < 0.001 for analysis of variance). Heart rate increased from 65 to 81 beats/min post-sauna ( p < 0.001); there were no significant changes for augmented pressure and pulse pressure amplification. Conclusion This study shows that pulse wave velocity, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, left ventricular ejection time and diastolic time decreased immediately after a 30-minute sauna session. Decreases in systolic blood pressure and left ventricular ejection time were sustained during the 30-minute recovery phase.

Concepts: Blood, Myocardial infarction, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Artery, Ventricle, Pulse pressure, Mean arterial pressure


Systemic arterial blood pressure (BP) is one of the most important parameters of the cardiovascular system. An oscillometric NIBP monitor was specifically designed to measure oscillometric pulsations and mean arterial pressure (MAP) during inflation and deflation of the cuff. Nineteen healthy young (age 23.1±1.7 years; mean±SD) and 35 elderly (83.9±7.9 years; mean±SD) subjects were studied. Differential analysis of MAP during inflation and deflation show mean |ΔMAP|=2.9±2.6 mm Hg in the young group (mean±SD) and |ΔMAP|=6.3±5.2 mm Hg for seniors (mean±SD). There was a significant difference (p<0.05) in means of |ΔMAP| measured during cuff inflation and cuff deflation between both groups. In about 50% of elderly subjects |ΔMAP| was higher than 5 mm Hg. Potential clinical relevance of the method needs to be further evaluated.

Concepts: Blood, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Artery, Vein, Cardiovascular system, Mean arterial pressure, Sphygmomanometer


Background The Surviving Sepsis Campaign recommends targeting a mean arterial pressure of at least 65 mm Hg during initial resuscitation of patients with septic shock. However, whether this blood-pressure target is more or less effective than a higher target is unknown. Methods In a multicenter, open-label trial, we randomly assigned 776 patients with septic shock to undergo resuscitation with a mean arterial pressure target of either 80 to 85 mm Hg (high-target group) or 65 to 70 mm Hg (low-target group). The primary end point was mortality at day 28. Results At 28 days, there was no significant between-group difference in mortality, with deaths reported in 142 of 388 patients in the high-target group (36.6%) and 132 of 388 patients in the low-target group (34.0%) (hazard ratio in the high-target group, 1.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.38; P=0.57). There was also no significant difference in mortality at 90 days, with 170 deaths (43.8%) and 164 deaths (42.3%), respectively (hazard ratio, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.30; P=0.74). The occurrence of serious adverse events did not differ significantly between the two groups (74 events [19.1%] and 69 events [17.8%], respectively; P=0.64). However, the incidence of newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation was higher in the high-target group than in the low-target group. Among patients with chronic hypertension, those in the high-target group required less renal-replacement therapy than did those in the low-target group, but such therapy was not associated with a difference in mortality. Conclusions Targeting a mean arterial pressure of 80 to 85 mm Hg, as compared with 65 to 70 mm Hg, in patients with septic shock undergoing resuscitation did not result in significant differences in mortality at either 28 or 90 days. (Funded by the French Ministry of Health; SEPSISPAM number, NCT01149278 .).

Concepts: Hypertension, Blood pressure, Statistical significance, Shock, Septic shock, Sepsis, Hypotension, Mean arterial pressure


In patients with acute circulatory failure, the decision to give fluids or not should not be taken lightly. The risk of overzealous fluid administration has been clearly established. Moreover, volume expansion does not always increase cardiac output as one expects. Thus, after the very initial phase and/or if fluid losses are not obvious, predicting fluid responsiveness should be the first step of fluid strategy. For this purpose, the central venous pressure as well as other “static” markers of preload has been used for decades, but they are not reliable. Robust evidence suggests that this traditional use should be abandoned. Over the last 15 years, a number of dynamic tests have been developed. These tests are based on the principle of inducing short-term changes in cardiac preload, using heart-lung interactions, the passive leg raise or by the infusion of small volumes of fluid, and to observe the resulting effect on cardiac output. Pulse pressure and stroke volume variations were first developed, but they are reliable only under strict conditions. The variations in vena caval diameters share many limitations of pulse pressure variations. The passive leg-raising test is now supported by solid evidence and is more frequently used. More recently, the end-expiratory occlusion test has been described, which is easily performed in ventilated patients. Unlike the traditional fluid challenge, these dynamic tests do not lead to fluid overload. The dynamic tests are complementary, and clinicians should choose between them based on the status of the patient and the cardiac output monitoring technique. Several methods and tests are currently available to identify preload responsiveness. All have some limitations, but they are frequently complementary. Along with elements indicating the risk of fluid administration, they should help clinicians to take the decision to administer fluids or not in a reasoned way.

Concepts: Blood, Cardiology, Heart, Volume, Blood pressure, Thermodynamics, Cardiac output, Mean arterial pressure


Diets high in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are thought to be detrimental to cardiovascular health. However, there remains uncertainty about the beneficial effect of a low AGE diet on cardiovascular risk factors and inflammatory markers in overweight individuals. We thus performed a randomised, double blind, crossover trial to determine whether consumption of low AGE diets reduce inflammation and cardiovascular risks in overweight and obese otherwise healthy adults. All participants (n = 20) consumed low and high AGE diets alternately for two weeks and separated by a four week washout period. Low AGE diets did not change systolic (p = 0.2) and diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.3), mean arterial pressure (p = 0.8) and pulse pressure (p = 0.2) compared to high AGE diets. Change in total cholesterol (p = 0.3), low-density lipoprotein (p = 0.7), high-density lipoprotein (p = 0.2), and triglycerides (p = 0.4) also did not differ and there was no difference in inflammatory markers: interleukin-6 (p = 0.6), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (p = 0.9), tumour necrosis factor α (p = 0.2), C-reactive protein (p = 0.6) and nuclear factor kappa beta (p = 0.2). These findings indicate that consumption of low AGE diets for two weeks did not improve the inflammatory and cardiovascular profiles of overweight and obese adults.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Inflammation, Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Blood pressure, Mean arterial pressure


While acute treatment with beetroot juice (BRJ) containing nitrate (NO3-) can lower systolic blood pressure (SBP), afterload and myocardial O2 demand during submaximal exercise, effects of chronic supplementation with BRJ (containing a relatively low dose of NO3-, 400 mg) on cardiac output (CO), BP, total peripheral resistance (TPR) and the work of the heart in response to dynamic exercise are not known. Thus, in 14 healthy males (22±1 yr), we compared effects of 15 days of both BRJ and nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (NDBRJ) supplementation on plasma concentrations of NOx (NO3-/NO2-), SBP, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), CO, TPR, and rate pressure product (RPP) at rest and during progressive cycling exercise. Endothelial function was also assessed via flow mediated dilation (FMD). BRJ supplementation increased plasma NOx from 83.8±13.8 to 167.6±13.2 uM. Compared to NDBRJ, BRJ reduced SBP, DBP, MAP and TPR at rest and during exercise (p<0.05). In addition, RPP was decreased during exercise, while CO was increased, but only at rest and the 30% workload (p<0.05). BRJ enhanced FMD-induced increases in brachial artery diameter (pre: 12.3±1.6%; post: 17.8±1.9%). We conclude that: 1) chronic supplementation with BRJ lowers BP and vascular resistance at rest and during exercise and attenuates RPP during exercise and 2) these effects may be due, in part, to enhanced endothelial-induced vasodilation in contracting skeletal muscle. BRJ can act as a dietary neutracuetical capable of enhancing O2 delivery and reducing work of the heart such that exercise can be performed at a given workload.

Concepts: Blood, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Artery, Cardiac cycle, Mean arterial pressure, Brachial artery, Total peripheral resistance


Compared to a DASH-type diet, an intensively applied dietary portfolio reduced diastolic blood pressure at 24 weeks as a secondary outcome in a previous study. Due to the importance of strategies to reduce blood pressure, we performed an exploratory analysis pooling data from intensively and routinely applied portfolio treatments from the same study to assess the effect over time on systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure (MAP), and the relation to sodium (Na(+)), potassium (K(+)), and portfolio components.

Concepts: Blood, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Artery, Vein, Potassium, Mean arterial pressure


Black men have higher blood pressure (BP) levels and consequently higher prevalence of hypertension compared with men from other ethnic groups in the United States. Socio-familial factors in childhood have been found to play an important role in hypertension, but few studies have examined this relationship among black men. We investigated whether childhood family living arrangements are independently associated with mean BP and hypertension in a cross-sectional sample of 515 unrelated black male participants aged ≥20 years enrolled in the Howard University Family Study between 2001 and 2008. Black men who lived with both parents compared with the reference group of men who never lived with both parents during their lifetime had lower systolic BP (-4.4 mm Hg [95% confidence interval {CI}, -7.84 to -0.96]), pulse pressure (-3.9 mm Hg [95% CI, -6.28 to -1.51]), and mean arterial BP (-2.0 mm Hg [95% CI, -4.44 to 0.51]). This protective effect was more pronounced among men who lived with both parents for 1 to 12 years of their lives; they had decreased systolic BP (-6.5 mm Hg [95% CI, -10.99 to -1.95]), pulse pressure (-5.4 mm Hg [95% CI, -8.48 to -2.28]), mean arterial pressure (-3.3 mm Hg [95% CI, -6.56 to 0.00]), and a 46% decreased odds of developing hypertension (odds ratio=0.54; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.99). No statistically significant associations were found for diastolic BP. These results provide preliminary evidence that childhood family structure exerts a long-term influence on BP among black men.

Concepts: Statistics, Myocardial infarction, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Artery, Prehypertension, Pulse pressure, Mean arterial pressure


Severe acute arterial hypertension can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. After excluding a reversible etiology, choice of therapeutic intervention should be based on evaluation of a number of factors, such as age, comorbidities, and other ongoing therapies. A rational pathophysiological approach should then be applied that integrates the effects of the drug on blood volume, vascular tone, and other determinants of cardiac output. Vasodilators, calcium channel blockers, and beta-blocking agents can all decrease arterial pressure but by totally different modes of action, which may be appropriate or contraindicated in individual patients. There is no preferred agent for all situations, although some drugs may have a more attractive profile than others, with rapid onset action, short half-life, and fewer adverse reactions. In this review, we focus on the main mechanisms underlying severe hypertension in the critically ill and how using a pathophysiological approach can help the intensivist decide on treatment options.

Concepts: Medicine, Blood, Myocardial infarction, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Artery, Calcium channel blocker, Mean arterial pressure


Background Obesity and obstructive sleep apnea tend to coexist and are associated with inflammation, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and high blood pressure, but their causal relation to these abnormalities is unclear. Methods We randomly assigned 181 patients with obesity, moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea, and serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) greater than 1.0 mg per liter to receive treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a weight-loss intervention, or CPAP plus a weight-loss intervention for 24 weeks. We assessed the incremental effect of the combined interventions over each one alone on the CRP level (the primary end point), insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, and blood pressure. Results Among the 146 participants for whom there were follow-up data, those assigned to weight loss only and those assigned to the combined interventions had reductions in CRP levels, insulin resistance, and serum triglyceride levels. None of these changes were observed in the group receiving CPAP alone. Blood pressure was reduced in all three groups. No significant incremental effect on CRP levels was found for the combined interventions as compared with either weight loss or CPAP alone. Reductions in insulin resistance and serum triglyceride levels were greater in the combined-intervention group than in the group receiving CPAP only, but there were no significant differences in these values between the combined-intervention group and the weight-loss group. In per-protocol analyses, which included 90 participants who met prespecified criteria for adherence, the combined interventions resulted in a larger reduction in systolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure than did either CPAP or weight loss alone. Conclusions In adults with obesity and obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP combined with a weight-loss intervention did not reduce CRP levels more than either intervention alone. In secondary analyses, weight loss provided an incremental reduction in insulin resistance and serum triglyceride levels when combined with CPAP. In addition, adherence to a regimen of weight loss and CPAP may result in incremental reductions in blood pressure as compared with either intervention alone. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; number, NCT0371293 .).

Concepts: Hypertension, Obesity, Blood pressure, Artery, Sleep apnea, Obstructive sleep apnea, C-reactive protein, Mean arterial pressure