The cardiovascular hemodynamic responses to various levels of orthostatic stress in children
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The ability of the cardiovascular system to quickly and efficiently adapt to an orthostatic stress is vital for the human body to function on earth. The way in which the various aspects of the cardiovascular system work together to counteract an orthostatic stress has been previously quantified in the adult population. However, there are still many unknowns surrounding the topic of how the cardiovascular system functions to cope with this same stress in children. The purpose of this study was to describe the cardiovascular hemodynamic adaptations to various levels of orthostatic stress induced using a lower body negative pressure (LBNP) chamber in pre-pubertal boys. A secondary purpose was to determine indices of baroreceptor sensitivity (BRS) at both rest and during low levels of LBNP in this same pediatric sample. Finally, this study aimed to compare the relative responses to LBNP between the children and adults. To complete the study 20 healthy pre-pubertal boys and adult males (9.3 ± 1.1 and 23 ± 1.8 years of age respectively) were recruited and randomly exposed to three levels of LBNP (15, 20 and 25 mmHg). At rest and during the application of the LBNP heart rate (HR), manual and bcat-by-beat systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP) and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) were monitored continuously. Aortic diameter was measured at rest and peak aortic blood velocity (PV) was recorded continuously for at least I minute during each baseline and LBNP condition. From the raw data HR, stroke volume (SV), cardiac output (Q), total peripheral resistance (TPR), low frequency baroreceptor sensitivity (LF BRS), high frequency baroreceptor sensitivity (HF BRS) and LFIIIF ratio were calculated. At rest, llR wa'i higher and SBP, SV, Q and LF/HF ratio were lower in the children compared to the adult males (pgJ.05). In response to the increasing LEN!> IIR and TPR increased, and LF BRS. SV and Q decreased in the adult group (pSf).05). while the same levels of LBNP caused an increase in TPR and a decrease in SBP, SV and Q in the children (pSf).05). Although not significant, the LF/HF ratio in the adult group showed an increasing trend in response to increased negative pressure (p=O.088). As for resting BRS, there were no significant differences in LF or HF BRS between the children and the adults despite a tendency for both measures to be 18% lower in the children. Also the LF/HF ratio was almost significantly greater in the adults compared to the children (p=O.057). In addition, a comparison between the relative adult and child responses to LBNP yielded no significant group by level interactions. This result should be taken with caution though, as the low sample size and high measurement variability generated very low statistical power for this analysis. In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that the hemodynamic adaptations to an orthostatic stress were less pronounced in the prepubertal males, most likely due to an underdeveloped autonomic system. These results need to be strengthened by further research before any implications can be derived for health care purposes.