Total peripheral resistance

arterial pressure

Cardiac output

Total peripheral resistance

PART THREE Coordinated Body Functions

Vander et al.: Human Physiology: The Mechanism of Body Function, Eighth Edition

PART THREE Coordinated Body Functions point. On the right, outflow tube 1 has been opened, as in the previous example, while tubes 2 to 4 have been simultaneously tightened. The increased resistance offered by tubes 2 to 4 compensates for the decreased resistance offered by tube 1; therefore total resistance remains unchanged, and reservoir pressure is unchanged. Total outflow remains 1 L/min, although the distribution of flows is such that flow through tube 1 is increased, that of tubes 2 to 4 is decreased, and that of tube 5 is unchanged.

Applied to the systemic circulation, this process is analogous to altering the distribution of systemic vascular resistances. When the skeletal-muscle arterioles (tube 1) dilate during exercise, the total resistance of the systemic circulation can still be maintained if arte-rioles constrict in other organs, such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and skin (tubes 2 to 4). In contrast, the brain arterioles (tube 5) remain unchanged, ensuring constant brain blood supply.

This type of resistance juggling can maintain total resistance only within limits, however. Obviously if tube 1 opens very wide, even complete closure of the other tubes cannot prevent total outflow resistance from falling. We shall see that this is actually the case during exercise.

We have thus far explained in an intuitive way why cardiac output (CO) and total peripheral resistance (TPR) are the two variables that set mean systemic arterial pressure. This intuitive approach, however, does not explain specifically why MAP is the arithmetic product of CO and TPR. This relationship can be derived formally from the basic equation relating flow, pressure, and resistance:

Rearranging terms algebraically, we have AP = F X R

Because the systemic vascular system is a continuous series of tubes, this equation holds for the entire system—that is, from the arteries to the right atrium. Therefore, the AP term is mean systemic arterial pressure (MAP) minus the pressure in the right atrium, F is the cardiac output (CO), and R is the total peripheral resistance (TPR).

MAP - Right arterial pressure = CO X TPR

Since the pressure in the right atrium is very close to 0 mmHg, we can drop this term and we are left with the equation presented earlier:

This equation is the fundamental equation of cardiovascular physiology. An analogous equation can also be applied to the pulmonary circulation:

Mean pulmonary arterial pressure =

CO X Total pulmonary vascular resistance

These equations provide a way to integrate almost all the information presented in this chapter. For example, we can now explain why mean pulmonary arterial pressure is much lower than mean systemic arterial pressure. The cardiac output through the pulmonary and systemic arteries is of course the same. Therefore, the pressures can differ only if the resistances differ. Thus, we can deduce that the pulmonary vessels offer much less resistance to flow than do the systemic vessels. In other words, the total pulmonary vascular resistance is lower than the total peripheral resistance.

Figure 14-54 presents the grand scheme of factors that determine mean systemic arterial pressure. None of this information is new, all of it having been presented in previous figures. A change in only a single variable will produce a change in mean systemic arterial pressure by altering either cardiac output or total peripheral resistance. For example, Figure 14-55 illustrates how the decrease in blood volume occurring during hemorrhage leads to a decrease in mean arterial pressure.

Conversely, any deviation in arterial pressure, such as that occurring during hemorrhage, will elicit homeostatic reflexes so that cardiac output and/or total peripheral resistance will be changed in the direction required to minimize the initial change in arterial pressure.

In the short term—seconds to hours—these ho-meostatic adjustments to mean arterial pressure are brought about by reflexes termed the baroreceptor reflexes. They utilize mainly changes in the activity of the autonomic nerves supplying the heart and blood vessels, as well as changes in the secretion of the hormones (epinephrine, angiotensin II, and va-sopressin) that influence these structures. Over longer time spans, the baroreceptor reflexes become less important, and factors controlling blood volume play a dominant role in determining blood pressure. The next two sections analyze these phenomena.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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