Postural stability of hemodynamic responses during mental challenge.
Laboratory stress testing is typically conducted while subjects are seated, whereas real-life stressors may often be encountered while standing. The present study of 20 healthy young men evaluated blood pressure and underlying hemodynamic adjustments to a standardized mental arithmetic task performed twice while seated and twice while standing. Blood pressure increased during mental arithmetic in both postures, but the underlying hemodynamic determinants of the pressor responses were different for the two postures. Augmented cardiac output was responsible for increasing blood pressure during seated task performance, whereas increased vascular resistance was the mechanism for the pressor response to the task performed while standing. Blood pressure and hemodynamic responses were reproducible subject characteristics for a given posture; test-retest correlations were significant for all cardiovascular measures. However, seated blood pressures responses were not significantly correlated with standing blood pressure responses. In contrast, significant between-posture correlations were found for cardiac output and vascular resistance responses. This preliminary evidence of postural stability of the hemodynamic determinants of blood pressure responses during stress is consistent with growing evidence that hemodynamic response tendencies are robust characteristics of reactivity. Ambulatory monitoring of hemodynamic response patterns during real-life stress may reveal more idiosyncratic profiles of stress reactivity than are displayed by blood pressure responses alone.
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