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While respiratory sinus arrhythmia and blood pressure variability have been investigated extensively, there have been far fewer studies of the respiratory modulation of peripheral blood flow in humans. Existing studies have been based primarily on noninvasive measurements using digit photoplethysmography and laser-doppler flowmetry. The cumulative knowledge derived from these studies suggest that respiration can contribute to fluctuations in peripheral blood flow and volume through a combination of mechanical, hemodynamic and neural mechanisms. However, the most convincing evidence suggests that the sympathetic nervous system plays the predominant role under normal, resting conditions. This mini-review provides a consolidation and interpretation of the key findings reported in this topical area. Given the need to extract dynamic information from noninvasive measurements under largely "closed-loop" conditions, we propose that the application of analytical tools based on systems theory and mathematical modeling can be of great utility in future studies. In particular, we present an example of how the transfer relation linking respiration to peripheral vascular conductance can be derived using measurements recorded during spontaneous breathing, spontaneous sighs, and ventilator-induced sighs.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
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