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Down But Not Out—Circulatory Arrest Pressures 

Down But Not Out—Circulatory Arrest Pressures
Down But Not Out—Circulatory Arrest Pressures

James R. Munis

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date: 09 May 2021

Suppose that your heart has just stopped. What would happen to your blood pressure? At least 2 things would happen that you might not predict (and I hope you won't discover them anytime soon). First, the various blood pressures in the different parts of your circulatory system would converge to the same value. Second, you might be surprised to find that your blood pressure is not zero. That's not just because of vertical (hydrostatic) gradients within the body. Because the blood volume is considerably greater than the passive circulatory system volume, the blood vessels are slightly stretched and maintain a non-zero pressure even after the heart stops. To determine the actual non-zero pressure during cardiac arrest, we only have to divide the stressed blood volume by vascular compliance.

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