Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Human Performance

First Advisor

Ronald K. Evans


Background: Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is one of the earliest subclinical indicators of impaired cardiovascular health and several non-invasive tools have been developed to evaluate vascular function, including strain gauge plethysmography (SGP), brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) via ultrasound, and peripheral artery tonometry (PAT). While these tools have extensively been studied during a resting condition, the responses following acute exercise are not as well characterized. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the pre- and post-exercise vascular function values obtained with SGP, FMD, and PAT. Relationships among the primary outcome variables obtained with each assessment tool were also evaluated. Methods: Vascular function was assessed in 17 sedentary, apparently healthy male subjects (24±4 yrs; 24.5±3.2 kg/m2) at rest and following an acute submaximal exercise bout with SGP, FMD, and PAT. Results: During rest, post-occlusion reactive hyperemia resulted in significant (p<0.05) increases in forearm blood flow (FBF; 2.13±1.03 vs 6.35 ± 2.90 mL/min/100 mL tissue) and area under the curve (AUC; 226.77 ± 111.20 vs 588.22 ±283.33 mL/min/100 mL) as determined by SGP. Brachial artery diameter (BAD) as assessed with FMD was increased by 5.3% (p<0.05). Resting reactive hyperemia index (RHI) as assessed by PAT was observed to be 1.73±0.34. Significant exercise-induced increases (p<0.05) were observed in baseline and post-occlusion FBF and baseline AUC values utilizing SGP. Additionally, FMD baseline blood velocity was significantly increased (91.8±11.1 vs 108.0±17.1 cm/sec, p<0.05) and the PAT augmentation index (AI) was significantly more negative (-8.8 ±9.4 vs -18.9±8.4%, p<0.05) after exercise. There were no significant correlations observed among the primary outcome measures obtained from each assessment technique. There was, however, a moderate correlation between pre-exercise vascular reactivity as assessed by SGP and change in blood velocity as assessed by FMD (r= 0.566, p= 0.035). Conclusions: The addition of an exercise stress to vascular function assessment may offer greater insight into the health of the vasculature. This initial study was undertaken to further evaluate the pre- to post-exercise responses obtained using three commonly employed vascular function assessment techniques in healthy individuals. Additional research as to the value of the addition of an exercise stress to vascular function assessment in individuals with traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors or known cardiovascular disease is warranted.


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VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2011