Digital vasodilatation during mental stress in patients with raynaud's disease

Jonathan L. Halperin, Richard A. Cohen, Jay D. Coffman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Summary: Fingertip blood flow was measured by venous occlusion plethysmography before and during a stressful mental task consisting of rapid serial arithmetic calculations in a 25°C room. Significant rises in heart rate and blood pressure indicated that stress was actually induced in all individuals. During mental stress in normal subjects, blood flow decreased (46.4±6.2 to 22.4±4.9 ml·min-1 per 100 ml tissue; P<0.01) and vascular resistance increased (2.1 ±0.4 to 7.6±2.2 units; P<0.01). Patients with Raynaud's disease unexpectedly increased blood flow (15.4±4.2 to 21.6±5.7; P=0.05) and decreased vascular resistance (9.7±2.3 to 7.1±1.4; P=0.05). Ten additional normal subjects were studied in a cool room (20°C). Their digits remained vasoconstricted during stress, as blood flow (7.4±2.9 to 5.1 ± 1.3) and vascular resistance (31.5±11.1 to 34.4±8.2) varied insignificantly (P>0.10). The digital vasodilatation which occurs during mental stress in patients with Raynaud's disease was not altered by pretreatment with oral indomethacin, with intra-arterial propranolol or atropine, or by digital nerve block. These findings suggest the existence of an active digital vasodilatory mechanism in patients with Raynaud's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-677
Number of pages7
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1983
Externally publishedYes


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