Failure of vascular autoregulations in the upper limb with increased +Gz acceleration

NDC Green, Margaret Brown, John Coote

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Forearm pain occurring during high +Gz exposure has been linked with vascular distension from elevated transmural pressure of hydrostatic origin and is exacerbated by positive pressure breathing (PBG). We postulated that at high vascular transmural pressure vascular autoregulation might be overcome and be associated with worsened pain. Six volunteers were studied at +4, +5, +6, and +7 Gz on a human centrifuge. Forearm vascular resistance (FVR) was assessed by Doppler ultrasound resistive index (RI), and superficial forearm venous pressure (FVP) was measured via an indwelling catheter. Pain rating was assessed by numerical scale. The left arm was located at heart level (control position), or on the throttle (test position). Runs were completed with and without positive pressure breathing for G protection (PBG); subjects wore full coverage anti-G trousers and chest counter-pressure. In the test position, pain increased with increasing acceleration (P <0.0001), and was more severe with PBG at +5 Gz and +7 Gz (P <0.05). FVP rose substantially more in the test than control position (238 +/- 17 mmHg vs. 61 +/- 8 mmHg at +7 Gz, P <0.0001) but the presence or absence of PBG had no effect on the FVP increase during acceleration in either position. In the test position, RI fell with increasing acceleration above +5 Gz (P <0.0001), and the fall was greater with PBG (P <0.05). Forearm pain was thus associated with a decrease in FVR and an increase in vascular transmural pressure. PBG exacerbated forearm pain and prompted a greater fall in RI, but had no effect on FVP response. These findings support FVR but not forearm venous distension in the aetiology of +Gz arm pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-626
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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