Factors influencing the ocular pulse--the heart rate

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1991;229(6):553-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00203321.


Using pneumotonometry combined with a Langham ocular blood-flow system, measurements of pulsatile ocular blood flow (POBF) were performed in eight ocular normotensive patients with implanted cardiac pacemakers, with the subjects assuming both the erect and the supine postures. Sequential measurements of POBF were made at pre-set values of heart rate over the physiological range between 60 and 120 beats/min at intervals of 10 beats/min. With patients in the supine position, measurements of cardiac output and stroke volume indices were also recorded by impedance cardiography. The mean pulse amplitude of the intraocular pressure (the ocular pulse) decreased as heart rate increased, and this change was statistically significant in both postures according to repeated-measures analysis of variance (erect: f = 18.7, P less than 0.0001; supine: f = 18.8, P less than 0.0001). As measured in supine patients following an increase in heart rate, the pulse amplitude decreased in parallel with a decline in stroke volume index (f = 18.8, P less than 0.0001). Up to a level of 90 beats/min, the mean POBF increased with heart rate, but it declined above this rate in both erect and supine postures. At all heart rates, intraocular pressure was higher when subjects were supine than when they stood erect (f = 4.3, P less than 0.001). At lower heart rates of 70 and 80 beats/min, ocular pulse volume and POBF were significantly lower in supine patients than in erect subjects (70 beats/min: t = 3.89, P less than 0.01 vs; t = 3.87, P less than 0.01; 80 beats/min: t = 2.85, P less than 0.05 vs; t = 2.87, P less than 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial
  • Cardiography, Impedance
  • Eye / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pacemaker, Artificial
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Tonometry, Ocular