Pulse pressure is the difference between the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It is measured in millimeters of mercury mmHg. It represents the force that the heart generates each time it contracts. Pulse pressure is the higher systolic blood pressure minus the lower diastolic blood pressure. The systemic pulse pressure is approximately proportional to stroke volumeor the amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle during systole pump action and inversely proportional to the compliance similar to Elasticity of the aorta.
The aorta has the highest compliance in the arterial system due in part to a relatively greater proportion of elastin fibers versus smooth muscle and collagen. This serves the important function of damping the pulsatile max pump pressure output of the left ventricle, thereby reducing the initial systolic pulse pressure but slightly raising the subsequent diastolic phase a period rather similar to Dwell time.
If the aorta becomes rigid pulse and blood pressure of disorders such as arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosisthe pulse pressure would be very high because the aorta becomes less compliant due to the adhesion rigid lesions to the otherwise flexible aorta wall.
The most common cause of a low narrow pulse pressure is a drop in left ventricular stroke volume. In trauma, a low or narrow pulse pressure suggests significant blood loss insufficient preload leading to reduced cardiac output. If the pulse pressure is extremely low, i. A narrow pulse pressure is also caused by aortic valve stenosis and cardiac tamponade. Usually, the resting pulse pressure in healthy adults, sitting position, is about 30—40 mmHg, pulse and blood pressure.
The pulse pressure increases with exercise due to increased stroke volume,  healthy values being up to pulse pressures of about mmHg, simultaneously as total peripheral resistance drops during exercise. In healthy individuals the pulse pressure will typically return to normal within about 11 minutes. For most individuals, during aerobic exercise, the systolic pressure progressively increases while the diastolic remains about the same. In some very aerobically athletic individuals, for example distance runners, the diastolic will progressively fall as the systolic increases.
This behavior facilitates a much greater increase in stroke volume and cardiac output at a lower mean arterial pressure and enables much greater aerobic capacity and physical performance. The diastolic drop reflects a much greater fall pulse and blood pressure total peripheral resistance of the muscle arterioles in response to the exercise a greater proportion of red versus white muscle tissue.
Individuals with larger BMIs pulse and blood pressure to increased muscle mass body builders have also been shown to have lower diastolic pressures and larger pulse pressures. If the usual resting pulse pressure is consistently greater than mmHg, the most likely basis is stiffness of the major arteriesaortic regurgitation a leak in the aortic valvearteriovenous malformation an extra path for blood to travel from a high pressure artery to a low pressure vein without the gradient of a capillary bedhyperthyroidism or some combination.
A chronically increased stroke volume is also a technical possibility, but very rare in practice. Pulse and blood pressure some drugs for hypertension have the side effect of increasing resting pulse pressure irreversibly, other antihypertensive drugs, such as ACE Inhibitorshave been shown to lower pulse pressure.
A high resting pulse pressure is harmful and tends to accelerate the normal aging pulse and blood pressure body organs, particularly the heart, the brain and kidneys. A high pulse pressure combined with bradycardia and an irregular breathing pattern is associated with increased intracranial pressure and should be reported to a physician immediately, pulse and blood pressure.
Recent work suggests that a high pulse pressure is an important risk factor for heart disease. Pulse pressure readings can be taken on a home blood pressure monitoring device. These devices display systolic and diastolic blood pressure from which pulse pressure can be calculated and pulse rate readings. Monitoring at home can be helpful to a medical provider in interpreting in-office results and progression of disease processes.
If the patient suffers from elevated pulse pressure, treatment may include medications that address this factor, such as an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor ACE inhibitor.
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American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, pulse and blood pressure, and Vascular Biology. Retrieved 15 February Physiology of the cardiovascular system. Central venous Right atrial ventricular pulmonary artery wedge Left atrial ventricular Aortic.
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