Fluctuations in cardiac stroke volume during rowing
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Preload to the heart may be limited during rowing because both blood pressure and central venous pressure increase when force is applied to the oar. Considering that only the recovery phase of the rowing stroke allows for unhindered venous return, rowing may induce large fluctuations in stroke volume (SV). Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate SV continuously during the rowing stroke. Eight nationally competitive oarsmen (mean ± standard deviation: age 21 ± 2 years, height 190 ± 9 cm, and weight 90 ± 10 kg) rowed on an ergometer at a targeted heart rate of 130 and 160 beats per minute. SV was derived from arterial pressure waveform by pulse contour analysis, while ventilation and force on the handle were measured. Mean arterial pressure was elevated during the stroke at both work rates (to 133 ± 10 [P <.001] and 145 ± 11 mm Hg [P =.024], respectively). Also, SV fluctuated markedly during the stroke with deviations being largest at the higher work rate. Thus, SV decreased by 27 ± 10% (31 ± 11 mL) at the beginning of the stroke and increased by 25 ± 9% (28 ± 10 mL) in the recovery (P =.013), while breathing was entrained with one breath during the drive of the stroke and one prior to the next stroke. These observations indicate that during rowing cardiac output depends critically on SV surges during the recovery phase of the stroke.
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