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Resonance in a mathematical model of baroreflex control: arterial blood pressure waves accompanying postural stress.

A mathematical model of the arterial baroreflex was developed and used to assess the stability of the reflex and its potential role in producing the low-frequency arterial blood pressure oscillations called Mayer waves that are commonly seen in humans and animals in response to decreased central blood volume. The model consists of an arrangement of discrete-time filters derived from published physiological studies, which is reduced to a numerical expression for the baroreflex open-loop frequency response. Model stability was assessed for two states: normal and decreased central blood volume. The state of decreased central blood volume was simulated by decreasing baroreflex parasympathetic heart rate gain and by increasing baroreflex sympathetic vaso/venomotor gains as occurs with the unloading of cardiopulmonary baroreceptors. For the normal state, the feedback system was stable by the Nyquist criterion (gain margin = 0.6), but in the hypovolemic state, the gain margin was small (0.07), and the closed-loop frequency response exhibited a sharp peak (gain of 11) at 0.07 Hz, the same frequency as that observed for arterial pressure fluctuations in a group of healthy standing subjects. These findings support the theory that stresses affecting central blood volume, including upright posture, can reduce the stability of the normally stable arterial baroreflex feedback, leading to resonance and low-frequency blood pressure waves.

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