Dramatic changes in the shape of pulsatile ascending aortic pressure and flow wave forms occur during the Valsalva maneuver in man. To study these changes, aortic pressure and flow signals were recorded in eight patients using a multisensor catheter. Aortic input impedance was derived during the control, strain and postrelease phases of the Valsalva maneuver. During control, well-defined minima and maxima occurred in the spectral plots of impedance moduli. This pattern was accentuated during the postrelease phase. In contrast, input impedance during strain was almost equal to the characteristic impedance for all harmonics. These results imply that during the control and postrelease phases, strong reflections return to the ascending aorta, but during the strain phase, reflections are minimal, absent or more diffuse. From wave transmission theory, it also follows that pulsatile pressure and flow wave forms should be similar in shape in the absence of reflections and dissimilar in the presence of reflections. This was observed in all eight patients. By provoking changes in the arterial tree during the Valsalva maneuver, the magnitude and timing of wave reflections were significantly altered, resulting in marked changes in the shape of pulsatile aortic pressure and flow wave forms. This study demonstrates the importance of reflections in determining the shape of the arterial pulse.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)