Left ventricular strain rate is reduced during voluntary apnea in healthy humans

Joshua R. Smith, Shelbi L. Sutterfield, Dryden R. Baumfalk, Kaylin D. Didier, Shane M. Hammer, Jacob T. Caldwell, Carl J. Ade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During an apneic event, sympathetic nerve activity increases resulting in subsequent increases in left ventricular (LV) afterload and myocardial work. It is unknown how cardiac mechanics are acutely impacted by the increased myocardial work during an apneic event. Ten healthy individuals (23 ± 3 yr) performed multiple voluntary end-expiratory apnea (VEEA) maneuvers exposed to room air, while a subset (n = 7) completed multiple VEEA exposed to hyperoxic air (100% FIO2). Beat-by-beat blood pressure, heart rate, and stroke volume were measured continuously. Effective arterial elastance (EA) was calculated as an index of cardiac afterload, and myocardial work was calculated as the rate pressure product (RPP). Tissue Doppler echocardiography was used to measure LV tissue velocities, deformation via strain, and strain rate (SR). Systolic blood pressure (Δ18 ± 13 mmHg, P < 0.01), EA (Δ0.13 ± 0.10 mmHg/ml, P < 0.01), and RPP (Δ9 ± 10 beats/min × mmHg 10- 2, P < 0.01) significantly increased with room air VEEA. This occurred in parallel with decreases in peak longitudinal systolic (Δ-0.62 ± 0.41 cm/s, P < 0.01) and early LV filling (Δ-2.81 ± 1.99 cm/s, P < 0.01) myocardial velocities. Longitudinal SR (Δ-0.30 ± 0.32 1/s, P = 0.01) was significantly decreased during room air VEEA. VEEA with hyperoxia did not alter (P > 0.18) EA or RPP and attenuated the systolic blood pressure response compared with room air. Myocardial velocities and LV strain rate response to VEEA were unchanged (P = 0.30) with hyperoxia. Consistent with our hypotheses, VEEA-induced increases in EA and myocardial work impact LV mechanics, which may depend, in part, on stimulation of peripheral chemoreceptors. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Transient increases in arterial blood pressure and systemic vascular resistance occur during sleep apnea events and may contribute to the associated daytime hypertension and risk of overt cardiovascular disease. To date, the link between this apnea pressor response and acute changes in left ventricular function remains poorly understood. We demonstrate that in parallel to increases in cardiac afterload a depressed left ventricular systolic function occurs at end apnea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1730-1737
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • arterial blood pressure
  • echocardiography
  • sleep apnea
  • strain rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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