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Normal physiology of the cardiovascular system 

Normal physiology of the cardiovascular system
Normal physiology of the cardiovascular system

Hugh Montgomery

and Rónan Astin

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date: 05 July 2022

Preload modulates contractile performance, and is determined by end-diastolic volume (EDV) and ventricular compliance. Compliance falls with increasing preload, muscle stiffness or ventricular hypertrophy, making central venous pressure (CVP) a poor surrogate for EDV. Responsiveness to fluid loading can be identified by seeking a change in stroke volume (SV) with changes in cardiac loading. Afterload, the force to be overcome before cardiac muscle can shorten to eject blood, rises with transmural pressure and end-diastolic radius, and inversely with wall thickness. Afterload, being the tension across the ventricular wall, is influenced by pleural pressure. Reductions in afterload increase SV for any cardiac work, as do reductions in vascular resistance. Resistance is modified by changes in arteriolar cross-sectional area. A rise in resistance increases blood pressure and microvascular flow velocity. Increased resistance may reduce CO if cardiac work cannot be augmented sufficiently. Flow autoregulationis the ability of vascular beds to maintain constant flow across varied pressures by adjusting local resistance.

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