Differential patterns of dynamic cardiovascular regulation as a function of task

Barry E. Hurwitz, Richard A. Nelesen, Patrice G. Saab, Joachim H. Nagel, Susan B. Spitzer, Marc D. Gellman, Philip M. McCabe, Donna J. Phillips, Neil Schneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


In cardiovascular reactivity studies, interpretations of the processes supporting the blood pressure response may become problematic when systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate all increase in response to a behavioral challenge. Therefore, in addition to evaluating these cardiovascular responses, this study examined cardiac output, total peripheral resistance and systolic time intervals derived from impedance cardiogram, electrocardiogram and phonocardiogram recordings during a speech Stressor, a mirror tracing task, and a foot cold pressor test. All of the behavioral Stressors elicited increases in blood pressure and heart rate, with the largest changes occurring during the overt speech. Based on the examination of the response patterns of the underlying hemodynamic variables it would appear that, in both men and women, the blood pressure increase during the speech preparation period was supported by increased cardiac output; the speech itself resulted in a mixed pattern of increased cardiac output and total peripheral resistance; whereas, the mirror tracing and cold pressor tasks produced increased total peripheral resistance. Although men and women produced similar response patterns to the behavioral challenges, sex differences in the estimates of myocardial contractility were observed during rest. These results provide evidence that different behavioral stressors can produce a distinct yet integrated pattern of responses, whose differences may be revealed, when impedance cardiography is used, to derive sufficient response measures for assessing dynamic cardiovascular processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-95
Number of pages21
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1993


  • Acute stressors
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiac output
  • Impedance cardiography
  • Systolic time intervals
  • Total peripheral resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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