Lower Body Negative Pressure: Physiological Effects, Applications, and Implementation

Physiol Rev. 2019 Jan 1;99(1):807-851. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00006.2018.


This review presents lower body negative pressure (LBNP) as a unique tool to investigate the physiology of integrated systemic compensatory responses to altered hemodynamic patterns during conditions of central hypovolemia in humans. An early review published in Physiological Reviews over 40 yr ago (Wolthuis et al. Physiol Rev 54: 566-595, 1974) focused on the use of LBNP as a tool to study effects of central hypovolemia, while more than a decade ago a review appeared that focused on LBNP as a model of hemorrhagic shock (Cooke et al. J Appl Physiol (1985) 96: 1249-1261, 2004). Since then there has been a great deal of new research that has applied LBNP to investigate complex physiological responses to a variety of challenges including orthostasis, hemorrhage, and other important stressors seen in humans such as microgravity encountered during spaceflight. The LBNP stimulus has provided novel insights into the physiology underlying areas such as intolerance to reduced central blood volume, sex differences concerning blood pressure regulation, autonomic dysfunctions, adaptations to exercise training, and effects of space flight. Furthermore, approaching cardiovascular assessment using prediction models for orthostatic capacity in healthy populations, derived from LBNP tolerance protocols, has provided important insights into the mechanisms of orthostatic hypotension and central hypovolemia, especially in some patient populations as well as in healthy subjects. This review also presents a concise discussion of mathematical modeling regarding compensatory responses induced by LBNP. Given the diverse applications of LBNP, it is to be expected that new and innovative applications of LBNP will be developed to explore the complex physiological mechanisms that underline health and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology*
  • Hypovolemia / physiopathology*
  • Lower Body Negative Pressure*
  • Space Flight