Pulsus paradoxus is the pathological exaggeration of the normal transient decrease in arterial blood pressure that occurs during spontaneous inspiration. The transient increase in arterial pressure associated with positive pressure inspiration is termed reversed pulsus paradoxus (RPP). Cardiorespiratory interactions and the mechanism of these effects have been studied extensively in animals, and to a lesser extent, in humans. In this clinical investigation pulsus paradoxus and RPP were studied in 10 postoperative cardiac patients with invasive monitoring and mediastinal pressure catheters placed intraoperatively. From end-expiration to end-inspiration, RPP was accompanied by decreased transmural pressures in the right atrium, left atrium, and aorta. Left ventricular end-systolic volume measured by radionuclide studies diminished during a positive pressure inspiration, without a significant change in end-diastolic volume. These results are consistent with decreased left ventricular afterload as the major mechanism of RPP. During spontaneous breathing, inspiration was associated with converse effects, a fall in arterial pressure and an increase in transmural right atrial, left atrial, and aortic pressures from end-expiration to end-inspiration. End-systolic volume was significantly larger at end-expiration than end-inspiration, with no change in end-diastolic volume. These findings suggest that an increase in left ventricular afterload during inspiration is responsible for the observed pulsus paradoxus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine