Rapid onset pressor and sympathetic responses to static handgrip in older hypertensive adults

J. L. Greaney, D. G. Edwards, P. J. Fadel, W. B. Farquhar

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26 Scopus citations


Exaggerated pressor and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) responses have been reported during static handgrip in hypertensive (HTN) adults. Recent work suggests that such responses may occur much more rapidly in HTN patients; however, this has not been extensively studied. Thus, we examined the blood pressure (BP) and MSNA responses at the immediate onset of muscle contraction and tested the hypothesis that older HTN adults would exhibit rapid onset pressor and sympathetic responses compared with normotensive (NTN) adults. Heart rate (HR), BP (Finometer) and MSNA (peroneal microneurography) were retrospectively analyzed in 15 HTN (62±1 years; resting BP 153±3/91±5 mm Hg) and 23 age-matched NTN (60±1 years; resting BP 112±1/67±2 mm Hg) subjects during the first 30 s of static handgrip at 30 and 40% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). HTN adults demonstrated exaggerated increases in mean BP during the first 10 s of both 30% (NTN: Δ1±1 vs HTN: Δ7±2 mm Hg; P<0.05) and 40% (NTN: Δ2±1 vs HTN: Δ8±2 mm Hg; P<0.05) intensity handgrip. Likewise, HTN adults exhibited atypical increases in MSNA within 10 s. Increases in HR were also greater in HTN adults at 10 s of 30% MVC handgrip, although not at 40% MVC. There were no group differences in 10 s pressor or sympathetic responses to a cold pressor test, suggesting no differences in generalized sympathetic responsiveness. Thus, static handgrip evokes rapid onset pressor and sympathetic responses in older HTN adults. These findings suggest that older HTN adults likely have greater cardiovascular risk even during short duration activities of daily living that contain an isometric component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 11 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


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