The Valsalva manoeuvre--cardiovascular effects and performance technique: a critical review

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2005 May 12;147(1):39-49. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2005.01.003.


Variations in the technique of the Valsalva manoeuvre (VM) have been shown to greatly influence the pattern of cardiovascular response (CVR) to the test. Intra-strain tachycardia, post-strain bradycardia, Valsalva ratio, and baroreflex sensitivity decrease in proportion to an increase in lung volume and a decrease in strain pressure at VM. In conditions of completely expanded lungs and low strain pressure many subjects reveal an intra-strain bradycardic response to VM instead of the usual tachycardic one. Intra-strain arterial hypotension and post-strain hypertension decrease with decrease in strain pressure. The changes in heart rate and blood pressure during an expiratory VM are greater than the responses observed during completition of an inspiratory VM. The rate of the deep inspiration prior to strain has an impact particularly on phase I of the VM. The magnitude of the CVR correlates with the strain duration, particularly at high levels of strain pressure, and depends on the baseline level of the cardiovascular parameters and their variations. The paper discusses the possible mechanisms of different CVRs to variations in the technique of the VM. Some practical recommendations are suggested.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Humans
  • Valsalva Maneuver*