We hypothesized that muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) and cardiovascular responses to the conventional head-up tilt (HUT) are different from those to head-up suspension (HUS) because of antigravity muscle activity. The MSNA from the tibial nerve, heart rate, blood pressure, stroke volume, cardiac output, and calf blood flow were measured in 13 healthy young subjects. Left atrial diameter was measured by two-dimensional echocardiography in another nine subjects. The resting MSNA and cardiovascular responses at a low level (20°) of orthostasis were similar during both modes. At higher levels (40 and 60°), the responses of MSNA, heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output were significantly stronger and there was a smaller reduction in calf blood flow during HUT than during HUS (P < 0.05). Left atrial diameter was decreased significantly from the resting values during HUT and HUS without any significant difference between the modes of orthostasis. The results provide evidence that the engagement of antigravity muscles during HUT may have additive effects on sympathetic vasoconstrictor and cardiovascular responses to orthostatic stress.
- Head-up tilt
- Muscle sympathetic nerve activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)