Pulsus Paradoxus

1. What is meant by pulsus paradoxus?

ANS: It is a marked fall in systolic blood pressure on inspiration.

2. Does the systolic blood pressure normally increase or decrease with inspiration? Why?

ANS: It decreases because:

a. Lung capacity increases with inspiration and the pulmonary vascular bed expands so that less blood moves from the lung into the left heart.

b. Intrathoracic pressure decreases with inspiration. Because the aorta is an intrathoracic organ, its pressure will also drop.

3. Why did the term paradoxus come into use?

ANS: A Kussmaul, in the late 1800s, originally described a marked drop in, or even loss of, blood pressure on inspiration in patients with constrictive pericarditis. He called it a "pulsus paradoxus," because he noticed that the apex beat did not change in any way, despite the loss of radial pulse with inspiration.

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Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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