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Title: Acute cardiovascular responses to slow and deep breathing
Author: Fernandes Vargas, Pedro Miguel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 4305
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2017
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Slow and deep breathing (SDB) has long been regarded as a nonpharmacological method for dealing with several physiological and emotional imbalances, and widely used for relaxation purposes. There is, however, limited understanding of the putative mechanisms by which SDB acutely impacts the cardiovascular and autonomic systems to elicit chronic adaptations. The present thesis explored how the manipulation of breathing pattern and intrathoracic pressure during SDB could further the understanding of the regulatory mechanisms that underpin the acute cardiovascular response to SDB. This thesis makes an original contribution to the existing knowledge by reporting a previously undescribed inversion of normal within-breath (inspiration vs. expiration) left ventricular stroke volume (LVSV) pattern for breathing frequencies < 8 breaths∙min-1. This finding might reflect the influence of a lag between enhanced right atrial filling and right ventricular stroke volume during inspiration, and its expression in left ventricular stroke volume; this lag results from the time required for blood to transit the pulmonary circulation. Furthermore, blood pressure variability (BPV) was reduced significantly at the lowest breathing frequencies, likely due to the involvement of baroreflex mediated responses. The pattern of responses was consistent with the buffering of respiratory-driven fluctuations in left ventricular cardiac output (Q̇) and arterial blood pressure (ABP) by within breath fluctuations in heart rate (fc), i.e., respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) (Chapter 4). Chapter 5 demonstrated that magnifying negative intrathoracic pressure with inspiratory loading during SDB increased inspiratory pressure-driven fluctuations in LVSV and fc, and enhanced Q̇, independently of changes in VT and fR. The data support an important contribution to the amplification of RSA, during SDB, of previously underappreciated reflex, and/or 'myogenic', cardiac response mechanisms. The findings in Chapter 6 confirmed that inspiratory loading during SDB amplified the effects observed with un-loaded SDB (reported in chapter 5). In contrast, expiratory loading increased ABP and attenuated RSA, LVSV and Q̇ during SDB. A lower RSA for higher ABP, supports the presence of a formerly underappreciated contribution of sinoatrial node stretch to RSA, and throws into question the clinical benefits of expiratory resisted SDB, particularly in hypertensive populations. In conclusion, the findings of the present thesis provide novel information regarding the mechanisms contributing to acute cardiovascular response to SDB. These new insights may contribute to the development of more effective SDB interventions, geared towards maximising the perturbation to the cardiovascular control systems.
Supervisor: McConnell, A. ; Gonzalez-Alonso, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Respiratory sinus arrythmia ; Heart rate variability ; Blood pressure variability ; Stroke volume ; Cardiac output