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October 2021

The psychobiology of strained breathing and its cardiovascular implications: A functional system review

Journal/Book: Psychophysiology. 1999; 36: 40 West 20Th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA. Cambridge Univ Press. 164-175.

Abstract: Strained breathing is a natural respiratory pattern, with cardiovascular implications. It is associated with social factors, attention, expectation, and anxiety and with defense behavior in animals. An inhibition of active behavior is characteristic. Strained breathing is based on the functional heterogeneity of the medullary postinspiratory neurons. In stressful circumstances, muscle tension and laryngeal reflexes induce a strong reduction of airflow in the glottis, resulting in a prolonged Stage I of expiration and an elevated intrathoracic pressure. The resulting elevations of blood pressure and CO2 level further stimulate the strained breathing pattern. The straining factor intrathoracic pressure is an important psychophysiological parameter. Functional aspects of strained breathing may be an elevated brain perfusion and the prevention of hyperventilation. It induces blood pressure oscillations and respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Frequent strained breathing may contribute to cardiovascular pathology and sleep apnea, creating a link between functional behavior and disease.

Note: Review Fokkema DS, Univ Groningen, Dept Anim Physiol, POB 14, NL-9750 AA Haren, NETHERLANDS

Keyword(s): strained breathing; defense behavior; attention; respiratory sinus arrhythmia; sleep apnea; intrathoracic pressure; cardiovascular disease; brain perfusion; RESPIRATORY SINUS ARRHYTHMIA; INTRATHORACIC PRESSURE CHANGES; CARDIAC PARASYMPATHETIC TONE; NUCLEUS-TRACTUS-SOLITARIUS; LEFT-VENTRICULAR FUNCTION; HEART-RATE-VARIABILITY; BLOOD-PRESSURE; SLEEP-APNEA; NEURONAL-ACTIVITY; DEFENSE REACTION

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