The lesser circulation in patients with systemic hypertension

M. D. Guazzi, N. de Cesare, C. Fiorentini, C. Galli, P. Moruzzi, G. Tamborini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The elevated blood pressure and vascular resistance in patients with systemic hypertension are paralleled by a proportonal rise in pressure and resistance in the lesser circulation. We evaluated the hypothesis that the increased systemic reaction to adrenergic stimulation is shared by the pulmonary vessels. For this purpose we investigated nine normotensive subjects and 24 patients with moderate primary hypertension during mental arithmetic and the cold pressor test. Both groups responded to both stimuli, with a pressure reaction that during arithmetic was mediated through an increase of cardiac output, and a reaction during the cold pressor test mediated through a predominant rise in systemic vascular resistance. The pressure were emphasized in the hypertensive population. Pressure in the pulmonary artery in normotensive subjects was not affected by cold and was slightly raised (systolic) during arithmetic. In hypertensive patients, on the other hand, systolic and diastolic pressures were consistently augmented by both tests, and pulmonary arteriolar resistance rose by 42% and 29% of control during the cold pressor test and arithmetic, respectively. Changes in resistance reflected neurally mediated vasoconstriction and not variations in the passive relationship between pressure and flow, since during arithmetic, for a similar rise in flow the driving pressure across the lungs was steady in normotensive subjects and rose significantly in hypertensive patients. In these same patients pressure was augmented by cold in the absence of substantial changes in flow. At baseline and during tests pulmonary wedge pressure, pleural pressure, arterial blood gases, and pH were similar in the two populations. These findings indicate that systemic and pulmonary vessels become hyperresponsive to neural stimulation in patients with hypertension, and suggest the possibility of a common disorder involving the two circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1 II SUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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