Biofeedback of R-Wave-to-Pulse Interval Normalizes Blood Pressure


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Abstract

We investigated whether biofeedback of the R-wave-to-pulse interval, a measure related to the pulse wave velocity, enables participants with either high or low arterial blood pressure to modify their blood pressure. Twelve participants with high blood pressure (mean systolic blood pressure = 142.6 ± 13.5 mmHg; mean diastolic blood pressure = 99.9 ± 12.3 mmHg) and 10 participants with low blood pressure (mean systolic blood pressure = 104.8 ± 6.6 mmHg; mean diastolic blood pressure = 73.2 ± 4.2 mmHg) received 3 individual sessions of RPI biofeedback within a 2-week period. Participants with high blood pressure were rewarded for decreasing and participants with low blood pressure for increasing their blood pressure. Standard arm-cuff blood pressure measurements across the sessions served as dependent variables. Participants with high blood pressure achieved significant reductions of systolic (15.3 mmHg) and diastolic (17.8 mmHg) blood pressure levels from the beginning of the first to the end of the last training session. In contrast, participants with low blood pressure achieved significant increases in systolic (12.3 mmHg) and diastolic (8.4 mmHg) blood pressure levels. The degree of blood pressure changes in this study might be of clinical relevance. With prolonged and refined training regimens, even larger effects seem to be likely.

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