Background: The deep breathing test (DB) is a simple method to measure heart rate variability. However, in most studies the amplitude of blood pressure oscillations has not been considered and little is known about the influence of the deep breathing test on the blood pressure level.
Design: The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of DB on finger blood pressure (FBP).
Methods: Continuous beat-to-beat FBP was recorded by the volume clamp method (Portapres model 2 monitor).
Results: Thirteen volunteers were studied before, during and after DB at a fixed rate of six breaths/min. After DB, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and mean blood pressure (MBP) were lower than before DB by 9.1, 4.3 and 5.9 mmHg, respectively. There was no significant correlation between the reduction in the BP level and the amplitudes of induced oscillations in blood pressure and heart rate during the deep breathing test.
Conclusions: Deep breathing might be used to reduce blood pressure.