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Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) is an increasingly widespread method of exercise that involves imposed restriction of blood flow to the exercising muscle. Blood flow restriction is achieved by inflating a pneumatic pressure cuff (or a tourniquet) positioned proximal to the exercising muscle prior to, and during, the bout of exercise (i.e., ischemic exercise). Low-intensity BFRT with resistance training promotes comparable increases in muscle mass and strength observed during high-intensity exercise without blood flow restriction. BFRT has expanded into the clinical research setting as a potential therapeutic approach to treat functionally-impaired individuals, such as the elderly, and patients with orthopedic and cardiovascular disease/conditions. However, questions regarding the safety of BFRT must be fully examined and addressed prior to the implementation of this exercise methodology in the clinical setting. In this respect, there is a general concern that BFRT may generate abnormal reflex-mediated cardiovascular responses. Indeed, the muscle metaboreflex is an ischemia-induced, sympathoexcitatory pressor reflex originating in skeletal muscle, and the present review synthesize evidence that BFRT may elicit abnormal cardiovascular responses resulting from increased metaboreflex activation. Importantly, abnormal cardiovascular responses are more clearly evidenced in populations with increased cardiovascular risk (e.g., elderly and individuals with cardiovascular disease). The evidence provided in the present review draws into question the cardiovascular safety of BFRT, which clearly needs to be further investigated in future studies. This information will be paramount for the consideration of BFRT exercise implementation in clinical populations.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology
The effectiveness of blood flow restriction training (BFRT) as compared with other forms of training, such as resistance training, has been evaluated in the literature in clinical and nonclinical popu...
This study examined the effects of blood-flow-restricted (BFR)-training on thigh glucose uptake at rest and during exercise in humans and the muscular mechanisms involved. Ten active men (~25 y; VO ~5...
Blood flow restricted or occlusion exercise enhances muscle hypertrophy and strength during resistance training. The acute effects on voluntary and electrically evoked muscle contractile characteristi...
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of walking training with and without blood flow restriction (BFR) on heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) kinetics and HRV recovery. Tw...
Effect of Blood Flow Restriction Training on Quadriceps Muscle Strength, Morphology, Physiology, and Knee Biomechanics Before and After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Protocol for a Randomized Clinical Trial.
Despite best practice, quadriceps strength deficits often persist for years after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) is a possible new intervention...
This parallel-arm trial study investigates the effects of restricting arterial blood flow during cycling exercise on citrate synthase. Participants will be randomized to either a blood flo...
This study evaluates the effects of a low-intensity blood-flow restricted exerciser protocol on patient reported physical function, in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis. The s...
This crossover study investigates the effects of restricting arterial blood flow during cycling exercise on PGC-1α and its upstream signalling pathways. In a randomized order, participant...
The primary aim of this study is to investigate the efficacy of 8 weeks of Low-load blood flow restricted exercise (BFRE) compared to receiving standard care only (no preoperative training...
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