Superficial femoral artery blood flow with intermittent pneumatic compression of the lower leg applied during walking exercise and recovery


The purpose of this study was to determine if muscle blood flow during walking exercise and postexercise recovery can be augmented through the application of intermittent compression of the lower legs applied during the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle. Results from four conditions were assessed: no compression (NoComp), compression during walking (ExComp), compression during postexercise recovery (RecComp), and compression applied throughout (AllComp). Superficial femoral artery (SFA) blood flow was measured (Doppler ultrasound) during rest and postexercise recovery. Mean arterial blood pressure (MAP, finger photoplethysmography) was used to calculate vascular conductance as VC SFA flow/MAP. Near infrared spectroscopy measured changes in oxygenated (O2Hb) and deoxygenated hemoglobin concentration throughout the test. Compression during exercise increased SFA blood flow measured over the first 15 s of postexercise recovery (AllComp: 532.2 123.1 mL/min; ExComp: 529.8 99.2 mL/min) compared with NoComp (462.3 87.3 mL/min P 0.05) and corresponded to increased VC (NoComp: 4.7 0.9 mL˙min1˙ mmHg1 versus ExComp: 5.5 1.0 mL˙min1˙mmHg1, P 0.05). Similarly, compression throughout postexercise recovery also resulted in increased SFA flow (AllComp: 190.5 57.1 mL/min; RecComp: 158.7 49.1 mL/min versus NoComp: 108.8 28.5 mL/min, P 0.05) and vascular conductance. Muscle contractions during exercise reduced total hemoglobin with O2Hb comprising $∼$57% of the observed reduction. Compression during exercise augmented this reduction (P 0.05) with O2HB again comprising $∼$55% of the reduction. Total hemoglobin was reduced with compression during postexercise recovery (P 0.05) with O2Hb accounting for $∼$40% of this reduction. Results from this study indicate that intermittent compression applied during walking and during postexercise recovery enhanced vascular conductance during exercise and elevated postexercise SFA blood flow and tissue oxygenation during recovery.

Journal of Applied Physiology