Central arterial pulse pressure (PP), a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, mainly consists of an incident wave generated by left ventricular ejection and a late-arriving reflected wave emanating from the lower body. We have tested the hypothesis that a reduction in leg vascular tone by heat treatment of the lower leg attenuates the central arterial PP. Pressure and wave properties of the peripheral and central arteries were measured in eight young men before and after heat treatment of the lower leg (temperature approx. 43 °C) for 30 and 60 min, respectively. Following the lower leg heat trial, leg (femoral–ankle) pulse wave velocity (PWV) was significantly decreased, but aortic (carotid–femoral) PWV and parameters of wave reflection and carotid arterial PP did not change significantly. No significant changes were observed in these parameters in the control trial. These results suggest that the reduction in leg vascular tone induced by heat treatment of the lower leg may not affect wave reflection and central arterial PP in young men.
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