Background: Effective arterial elastance (Ea), an index of arterial load, increases with elevations in left ventricular elastance to maximize the efficiency of left ventricular stroke work during exercise. Systemic arterial compliance (C) and vascular resistance (R) are the primary components contributing to Ea, and R plays a greater role in determining Ea at rest. We hypothesized that the contribution of C to Ea increases during exercise to maintain an optimal balance between arterial load and ventricular elastance, and that the increase in Ea is due primarily to a reduction in C. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the contributions of C and R to Ea during exercise. Methods: Ea (0.9 × systolic blood pressure/stroke volume), C (stroke volume/pulse pressure), R (mean blood pressure/cardiac output), and cardiac cycle length (T) were measured at rest and during exercise of 40%, 60% and 80% maximal oxygen uptake (O2max) using Doppler echocardiography in 45 healthy men. Results: Ea did not differ between rest and 40% O 2max, but it was greater at 60% and 80% O2max. C markedly decreased during exercise in an exercise intensity-dependent manner. The changes in R/T during exercise were small, whereas it decreased at 40% O2max and gradually increased at 60% and 80% O2max. Conclusions: The present results suggest that the contribution of systemic arterial compliance to effective arterial elastance increases during exercise. Therefore, we propose that the increase in arterial load during exercise is mainly driven by a reduction in systemic arterial compliance.
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