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Am J Physiol. 1991 Feb;260(2 Pt 2):H632-7.

Regional vascular resistance vs. conductance: which index for baroreflex responses?

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Department of Physiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201.


When large changes in baseline blood flow occur in regional vascular beds (i.e., in skeletal muscle between rest and dynamic exercise or in skin between normothermia and hyperthermia) opposite conclusions are often drawn regarding the magnitude of a given vasomotor response (such as baroreflex vasoconstriction during hypotension) using regional resistance versus conductance. This report analyzes the relationship between changes in regional resistance or conductance and the contribution of the responses in the maintenance of blood pressure. The main supposition is that the appropriate index of baroreflex responses should reflect the importance of the response in the maintenance of blood pressure. Through differential analysis of the relationship between changes in resistance and conductance on arterial pressure, it can be seen that in terms of resistance, the effect of a given change in resistance on arterial pressure is greatly dependent on the baseline level of resistance. For conductance, while a modest baseline effect exists when cardiac output changes markedly, at a constant cardiac output, the same change in regional conductance always causes the same change in arterial pressure regardless of the initial value of conductance. Conclusions drawn are that while neither resistance nor conductance is a perfect index of vasomotor responses, changes in conductance far better reflect the importance of the response in pressure regulation than do changes in regional resistance.

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