Influence of sprint exercise on aortic pulse wave velocity and femoral artery shear patterns

Jacob P. DeBlois, Wesley K. Lefferts, Kevin S. Heffernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Aortic stiffness may affect shear patterns in the peripheral vasculature. This study examined if sprint exercise, which typically increases aortic stiffness is associated with increased peripheral retrograde blood flow and impaired microvascular function. Methods: Twenty participants (10 women; age: 27 ± 5 years) underwent arterial stiffness, shear rate, and microvascular function assessment at three time points: baseline; following time control; ~ 2 min post a 30-s cycle ergometer sprint against 7.0% body mass. Aortic stiffness was assessed using carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV). Superficial femoral artery (SFA) diameter and blood velocity were assessed using Doppler-ultrasound and were used to calculate shear rates and resistance index (RI). SFA wave reflections were obtained via wave intensity analysis. Vastus medialis microvascular function was measured as tissue saturation index reactivity pre-post exercise via near-infrared spectroscopy. Results: cfPWV increased by + 0.8 ± 0.7 m·s−1 following exercise (p < 0.001). Retrograde shear was reduced following exercise compared with time control (− 4.9 ± 3.8 s−1; p < 0.001), while tissue saturation index was increased post-exercise from baseline (+ 2.3 ± 4.6%; p = 0.04). Reductions in SFA wave reflections (− 1.70 ± 1.96 aU) and RI (− 0.17 ± 0.13 aU) were also noted following exercise (p < 0.001). Conclusion: These data suggest sprint exercise-mediated changes in peripheral shear patterns and microvascular function in the exercised vasculature occur independent from increases in aortic stiffness. Exercise-induced reductions in SFA retrograde shear may be related to decreased wave reflections and peripheral vascular resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2635-2647
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Microvascular function
  • Shear stress
  • Sprint exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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