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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):R1510-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00247.2011. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Validity of auscultatory and Penaz blood pressure measurements during profound heat stress alone and with an orthostatic challenge.

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  • 1Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.


Despite frequent reporting of blood pressure (BP) during profound passive heat stress, both with and without a hypotensive challenge, the method by which BP is measured often varies between laboratories. It is unknown whether auscultatory and finger BP measures accurately reflect intra-arterial BP during dynamic changes in cardiac output and peripheral resistance associated with the aforementioned conditions. The purpose of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that auscultatory BP measured at the brachial artery, and finger BP measured by the Penaz method, are valid measures of intra-arterial BP during a passive heat stress and a heat-stressed orthostatic challenge, via lower body negative pressure (LBNP). Absolute (specific aim 1) and the change in (specific aim 2) systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP), and mean BPs (MBP) were compared at normothermia, after a core temperature increase of 1.47 ± 0.09°C, and during subsequent LBNP. Heat stress did not change auscultatory SBP (6 ± 11 mmHg; P = 0.16), but Penaz SBP (-22 ± 16 mmHg; P < 0.001) and intra-arterial SBP (-11 ± 13 mmHg P = 0.017) decreased. In contrast, DBP and MBP did not differ between methods throughout heat stress. Compared with BP before LBNP, the magnitude of the reduction in BP with all three methods was similar throughout LBNP (P > 0.05). In conclusion, auscultatory SBP and Penaz SBP failed to track the decrease in intra-arterial SBP that occurred during the profound heat stress, while decreases in arterial BP during an orthostatic challenge are comparable between methodologies.

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