Hemodynamic and autonomic correlates of postexercise hypotension in patients with mild hypertension

Jacopo M. Legramante, Alberto Galante, Michele Massaro, Antonio Attanasio, Gianfranco Raimondi, Fabio Pigozzi, Ferdinando Iellamo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the interplay of neural and hemodynamic mechanisms in postexercise hypotension (PEH) in hypertension. In 15 middle-aged patients with mild essential hypertension, we evaluated blood pressure (BP), cardiac output (CO), total peripheral resistance (TPR), forearm (FVR) and calf vascular resistance (CVR), and autonomic function [by spectral analysis of R-R interval and BP variabilities and spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity (BRS)] before and after maximal exercise. Systolic and diastolic BP, TPR, and CVR were significantly reduced from baseline 60-90 min after exercise. CO, FVR, and HR were unchanged. The low-frequency (LF) component of BP variability increased significantly after exercise, whereas the LF component of R-R interval variability was unchanged. The overall change in BRS was not significant after exercise vs. baseline, although a significant, albeit small, BRS increase occurred in response to hypotensive stimuli. These findings indicate that in hypertensive patients, PEH is mediated mainly by a peripheral vasodilation, which may involve metabolic factors linked to postexercise hyperemia in the active limbs. The vasodilator effect appears to override a concomitant, reflex sympathetic activation selectively directed to the vasculature, possibly aimed to counter excessive BP decreases. The cardiac component of arterial baroreflex is reset during PEH, although the baroreflex mechanisms controlling heart period appear to retain the potential for greater opposition to hypotensive stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4 51-4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Baroreflex
  • Heart rate variability
  • Hemodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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