The effect of exercise on large artery haemodynamics in healthy young men

James E. Sharman*, C. M. McEniery, R. I. Campbell, J. S. Coombes, I. B. Wilkinson, J. R. Cockcroft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Brachial blood pressure predicts cardiovascular outcome at rest and during exercise. However, because of pulse pressure amplification, there is a marked difference between brachial pressure and central (aortic) pressure. Although central pressure is likely to have greater clinical importance, very little data exist regarding the central haemodynamic response to exercise. The aim of the present study was to determine the central and peripheral haemodynamic response to incremental aerobic exercise. Materials and methods: Twelve healthy men aged 31 ± 1 years (mean ± SEM) exercised at 50%, 60%, 70% and 80% of their maximal heart rate (HRmax) on a bicycle ergometer. Central blood pressure and estimated aortic pulse wave velocity, assessed by timing of the reflected wave (TR), were obtained noninvasively using pulse wave analysis. Pulse pressure amplification was defined as the ratio of peripheral to central pulse pressure and, to assess the influence of wave reflection on amplification, the ratio of peripheral pulse pressure to nonaugmented central pulse pressure (PPP: CDBP-P1) was also calculated. Results: During exercise, there was a significant, intensity-related, increase in mean arterial pressure and heart rate (P < 0.001). There was also a significant increase in pulse pressure amplification and in PPP: CDBP-P1 (P < 0.001), but both were independent of exercise intensity. Estimated aortic pulse wave velocity increased during exercise (P < 0.001), indicating increased aortic stiffness. There was also a positive association between aortic pulse wave velocity and mean arterial pressure (r = 0.54; P < 0.001). Conclusions: Exercise significantly increases pulse pressure amplification and estimated aortic stiffness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-744
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Aerobic exercise
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Blood pressure


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