Mechanisms of orthostatic intolerance following very prolonged exercise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • J.D. Cotter
  • J.G. Anson
  • C. Murrell
  • L. Wilson
  • P.N. Ainslie
  • D. Gaze
  • K.P. George

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • University of Otago
  • St. George's Healthcare National Health Service Trust


Nine men completed a 24-h exercise trial, with physiological testing sessions before (T1, ∼0630), during (T2, ∼1640; T3, ∼0045; T4, ∼0630), and 48-h afterwards (T5, ∼0650). Participants cycled and ran/trekked continuously between test sessions. A 24-h sedentary control trial was undertaken in crossover order. Within testing sessions, participants lay supine and then stood for 6 min, while heart rate variability (spectral analysis of ECG), middle cerebral artery perfusion velocity (MCAv), mean arterial pressure (MAP; Finometer), and end-tidal PCO (PETCO ) were measured, and venous blood was sampled for cardiac troponin I. During the exercise trial: 1) two, six, and four participants were orthostatically intolerant at T2, T3, and T4, respectively; 2) changes in heart rate variability were only observed at T2; 3) supine MAP (baseline = 81 ± 6 mmHg) was lower (P <0.05) by 14% at T3 and 8% at T4, whereas standing MAP (75 ± 7 mmHg) was lower by 16% at T2, 37% at T3, and 15% at T4; 4) PET was reduced (P <0.05) at all times while supine (-3-4 Torr) and standing (-4-5 Torr) during exercise trial; 5) standing MCAv was reduced (P <0.05) by 23% at T3 and 30% at T4 during the exercise trial; 6) changes in MCAv with standing always correlated (P <0.01) with changes in PET (r = 0.78-0.93), but only with changes in MAP at T1, T2, and T3 (P <0.05; r = 0.62- 0.84); and 7) only two individuals showed minor elevations in cardiac troponin I. Recovery was complete within 48 h. During prolonged exercise, postural-induced hypotension and hypocapnia exacerbate cerebral hypoperfusion and facilitate syncope.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008