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Arterial Pressure Gradients during Upright Posture and 30 deg Head Down TiltGravity alters local blood pressure within the body so that arterial pressures in the head and foot are lower and higher, respectively, than that at heart level. Furthermore, vascular responses to local alterations of arterial pressure are probably important to maintain orthostatic tolerance upon return to the Earth after space flight. However, it has been difficult to evaluate the body's arterial pressure gradient due to the lack of noninvasive technology. This study was therefore designed to investigate whether finger arterial pressure (FAP), measured noninvasively, follows a normal hydrostatic pressure gradient above and below heart level during upright posture and 30 deg head down tilt (HDT). Seven healthy subjects gave informed consent and were 19 to 52 years old with a height range of 158 to 181 cm. A Finapres device measured arterial pressure at different levels of the body by moving the hand from 36 cm below heart level (BH) to 72 cm above heart level (AH) in upright posture and from 36 cm BH to 48 cm AH during HDT in increments of 12 cm. Mean FAP creased by 85 mmHg transitioning from BH to AH in upright posture, and the pressure gradient calculated from hydrostatic pressure difference (rho(gh)) was 84 mmHg. In HDT, mean FAP decreased by 65 mmHg from BH to AH, and the calculated pressure gradient was also 65 mmHg. There was no significant difference between the measured FAP gradient and the calculated pressure gradient, although a significant (p = 0.023) offset was seen for absolute arterial pressure in upright posture. These results indicate that arterial pressure at various levels can be obtained from the blood pressure at heart level by calculating rho(gh) + an offset. The offset equals the difference between heart level and the site of measurement. In summary, we conclude that local blood pressure gradients can be measured by noninvasive studies of FAP.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Sanchez, E. R (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
William, J. M. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Ueno, T. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Ballard, R. E. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Hargens, A. R. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Holton, Emily M.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1997
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Meeting Information
American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology(Washington, DC)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 199-26-12-34
PROJECT: RTOP 199-80-02-05
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.