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Clinical Trial Summary

This research is being done to find out whether distension of veins in legs will cause a rise in blood pressure (orthostatic hypertension).

Clinical Trial Description

In humans, two-thirds of the blood volume is contained within the venous vasculature. Because of this, changes in peripheral blood volume and alterations in the mechanical properties of peripheral veins can greatly impact cardiac filling, cardiac output and blood pressure (BP) responses to physiologic stress. Work from our laboratory over the past seven years has shown that local upper limb venous distension via volume infusion into an occluded arm (i.e. volume infusion model) or applying negative pressure to an occluded leg (limb suction experimental model) leads to an acute and dramatic increase in Muscle Sympathetic Nerve Activity (MSNA; an index of sympathetic activity directed to skeletal muscle) and BP in humans. Since this venous distension reflex (VDR) differs physiologically from the other reflex systems, and since this system may play a critical role in orthostatic BP control, we believe that it is a significant area of study.

The investigators speculate that VDR from lower limbs contributes to the autonomic adjustment to orthostatic stress. To examine the VDR in lower limbs, an arterial occlusion cuff on the mid-thigh was inflated (250 mm mercury; Hg). Then, limb suction (-100 mmHg) was applied ~10-15 cm below the level of arterial occlusion (i.e. below the knee). MSNA was measured in the opposite control limb. When suction was applied below the level of arterial occlusion (i.e. occlusion + suction), both MSNA and mean arterial BP (MAP) increased. In control trials, arterial occlusion without limb suction (i.e. occlusion alone) did not increase MSNA. Plethysmographic data showed calf circumference increased without detectable arterial pulsations. Pilot data suggest that the fluid shifts from the occluded but non-depressurized zone of the limb (i.e. between the cuff and knee) into the occluded and depressurized region of the limb within the tank. Thus, the results suggest that the VDR was engaged with this limb suction experimental model.

These experimental models "selectively" alter peripheral venous volume as the investigators measure sympathetic reflex responses. This approach is innovative and allows examination of a previously overlooked autonomic reflex in conscious humans. If these studies confirm the hypotheses, the obtained data would challenge the present teaching regarding how the sympathetic nervous system is engaged in humans during postural stress.

In ~2.5-10% of the population, BP rises as the person stands. This has been termed orthostatic hypertension, and is different from the "normal" sustained BP response when a person stands. The incidence of orthostatic hypertension may increase with aging (~2.4% for 45-64 years old and ~8.7% for >70 years old). Orthostatic hypertension is a risk factor for the development of stroke, left ventricular hypertrophy, and chronic kidney disease. It is unclear why BP rises with standing in some individuals. Some investigators have speculated that orthostatic hypertension is due to exaggerated baroreceptor withdrawal with standing. Others have speculated that this response is due to an increase in sympathetic output. It has been noted that some patients with orthostatic hypertension have increased venous pooling in their lower legs. Based these data, the investigators postulate that heightened engagement of the VDR reflexly increases MSNA and also serves to reset the aortic baroreflex. In this protocol, the investigators will determine if the MSNA response to leg suction is heightened in the individuals with elevated standing BP, and examine if the baroreflex is altered in these individuals. The investigators will also examine if external pressure on lower limbs, which limits the venous pooling in the lower limbs, will attenuate the increase in BP during standing in those individuals. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT03496792
Study type Interventional
Source Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Contact Jian Cui, PhD
Phone 717-531-1799
Status Recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date December 11, 2017
Completion date December 2022

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