The effectiveness of compression garments and lower limb exercise on post-exercise blood pressure regulation in orthostatically intolerant athletes

Clin J Sport Med. 2010 Sep;20(5):362-7. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181f20292.


Objective: Orthostatic intolerance (OI) may occur postexercise in normotensive individuals due to gravitational stress and removal of muscle pump.

Design: Six subjects performed 3 maximal bouts of exercise associated with (1) no intervention (CONTROL) (initial trial), (2) with use of lower limb compression garment (TROU), and (3) lower limb exercise (HEEL).

Setting: In each trial, 10 minutes of supine rest was followed by 10 minutes of standing before and immediately after maximal exercise.

Participants: All subjects were OI during the CONTROL trial.

Interventions: In the TROU trial, the compression garment was worn during the supine and standing phases. In the HEEL trial, heel raises were performed every 60 seconds during standing periods.

Main outcome measures: Systolic blood pressure and heart rate were continuously recorded, and stroke, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance were estimated (PortAPres, TNO Biomedical Instrumentation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands). Positional changes were compared preexercise and postexercise in CONTROL, TROU, and HEEL via 2-way analysis of variance.

Results: All 6 subjects experienced OI in the CONTROL trial, but this was reduced to 2 after the HEEL and 1 after the TROU. Minor increases in systolic blood pressure (CONTROL, 3 +/- 11; TROU, 12 +/- 18; HEEL, 7 +/- 15 mm Hg) and heart rate (CONTROL, 10 +/- 12; TROU, 16 +/- 8; HEEL, 15 +/- 13 beats.min) were observed, but total peripheral resistance did not alter significantly during orthostasis postexercise (CONTROL, 0.462 +/- 0.351; TROU, 0.325 +/- 0.212; HEEL, 0.746 +/- 0.412 medical units).

Conclusions: It seems that simple methods/practices adopted by athletes can have a positive impact on OI.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cardiac Output
  • Diastole
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / blood supply*
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Male
  • Orthostatic Intolerance / therapy*
  • Stockings, Compression*
  • Systole
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology