Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



The ability to distribute blood from areas with low demand to areas with high demand, such as occurs during exercise, is a critical function of the circulatory system. PURPOSE: To compare the resting diameter and vasoreactivity of the brachial artery in elite strength athletes to those of age-matched controls. We hypothesized that the brachial arteries of strength athletes would have larger diameters at rest, and show greater vasoreactivity in response to cuff occlusion and a cold pressor test than in untrained individuals. METHODS: Eight elite strength athletes (age, 23 ± 2 years) and ten age-matched controls (age, 22 ± 1 years) were studied. Using high-resolution ultrasonography, brachial diameter was assessed at rest and following 5 minutes of forearm occlusion (BAFMD) and a cold pressor test. RESULTS: The average resting brachial diameters of strength athletes (5.39 mm ± 1.51) was significantly larger than the diameters of the control group (3.73 mm ± 0.71). On average, strength athletes showed significantly greater vasodilation (BAFMD % Δ athletes, 8.21% ± 1.78; controls 5.69% ± 1.56) in response to cuff release and significantly greater vasoconstriction (CPT % Δ athletes, -2.95 ± 1.07; controls -1.20 ± 0.48) in response to the cold pressor test. The combined effect of vasodilation and vasoconstriction indicates a greater physiologic vascular operating range in the athletes (0.55 mm) compared to the controls (0.25 mm). CONCLUSIONS: This study reports significant differences in vascular responses to vasodilatory and constrictor stimuli of elite strength athletes and age-matched controls. These differential responses in the elite athletes suggest a well-adapted vasculature defined by a wide vascular operating range.



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Committee Chair

Welsch, Michael A.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons