Heart rate and blood pressure responses at the onset of dynamic exercise: effect of Valsalva manoeuvre

Antonio C L Nóbrega, Jon W. Williamson, Claudio G S Araújo, Daniel B. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The influence of respiration on the mean blood pressure {Mathematical expression} and R-R interval responses at the onset of dynamic exercise was studied in 15 healthy subjects who performed 4 s of unloaded cycling at 1.5-2.0 Hz, 4 s of Valsalva manoeuvre at 5.3 kPa, and a combination of both, each during a 12-s long apnoea at total lung capacity. The R-R intervals were obtained from the electrocardiogram, Pa was measured continuously by finger plethysmography, and intra-oral pressure was used to estimate the changes in intrapleural pressure. There was an immediate and significant shortening of the R-R intervals during exercise [mean (SE): 790 (20) to 642 (20) ms] that was not modified when Valsalva manoeuvre was added [783 (28) to 654 (21) ms]. Although 4 s of exercise alone did not alter Pa [13.8 (0.5) to 13.7 (0.7) kPa], this may indicate a pressor response, since {Mathematical expression} decreased during apnoea alone. When exercise was performed simultaneously with Valsalva manoeuvre, {Mathematical expression} increased significantly [13.6 (0.4) to 15.8 (0.5) kPa] and of similar magnitude during Valsalva alone [13.2 (0.4) to 15.3 (0.7) kPa]. In conclusion, 4 s of unloaded cycling elicited a fast R-R shortening with no change in {Mathematical expression} from rest. A concomitant Valsalva manoeuvre had no effect on the R-R interval response but caused a marked increase in {Mathematical expression}. From these findings, it is suggested that respiratory influences should be controlled in studies concerned with the cardiovascular responses at the onset of dynamic exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-340
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1994


  • Exercise-induced vagal inhibition
  • Exertion
  • Humans
  • Overshoot
  • Transients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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