Mechanical effects of respiration and stepping on systolic arterial pressure variability during treadmill exercise

Simona Piazza, Raffaello Furlan, Simonetta Dell’Orto, Alberto Porta, Federico Lombardi, Massimo Pagani, Alberto Malliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To evaluate the changes produced by maximal dynamic exercise in the rhythmic components of systolic arterial pressure variability. Patients and methods: We studied seven normotensive subjects during different levels of a modified treadmill test (Bruce protocol, up to stage 4). Arterial pressure was measured directly by a high-fidelity microtip pressure transducer. Spectral analysis provided two main oscillatory components of systolic arterial pressure variability, a low-frequency component related to the sympathetic-mediated neural control of vasomotion and a high-frequency component reflecting the mechanical effects of respiration on blood pressure. Results: The low-frequency component increased at the beginning of exercise and remained stable thereafter, while the high-frequency component increased progressively. A third rhythmic component (very high frequency) with a frequency higher than respiration and synchronous with the rate of the subjects’ footsteps, which was undetectable on a visual inspection of analog tracings, became progressively more apparent, reaching its maximum at exercise stage 4. Conclusions: These findings emphasize the importance of high-fidelity techniques and computer analysis for the evaluation of arterial pressure variability in dynamic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1643-1647
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Exercise
  • High-fidelity arterial pressure
  • Spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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