Haemodynamic effects of isometric handgrip exercise in patients convalescent from myocardial infarction

G. Baccelli, R. Valentini, L. Gregorini, G. Cellina, G. Mancia, J. Ludbrook, A. Zanchetti

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Cardiac performance in response to 30% maximal isometric handgrip exercise was studied in fourteen patients convalescing uneventfully from a first myocardial infarction. In each patient, heart rate, mean arterial blood pressure, and cardiac index were measured, and total peripheral resistance was calculated. The covariance of changes in the mean arterial blood pressure and cardiac index in these patients was matched against tolerance limits calculated from published data for normal subjects. All patients had normal haemodynamic values at rest, and showed the usual rise of heart rate and mean arterial pressure during handgrip exercise. However, in six patients (group 1) the rise in mean arterial pressure was, as in normal subjects, accounted for mainly by a rise in cardiac index, with no consistent change in peripheral resistance. In eight patients (group 2), the mean arterial pressure rose to the same level as in group 1, but with a consistent increase in peripheral resistance and a smaller rise in the cardiac index. It is suggested that in a substantial proportion of patients who are making a seemingly uncomplicated recovery from myocardial infarction, it may be possible to unmask an impairment of left ventricular function by means of isometric handgrip exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-615
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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