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Cardiovascular Reflexes Introduction The cardiovascular system is centrally regulated by autonomic reflexes.

These work with local mechanisms to minimize fluctuations in the mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) and to maintain adequate perfusion of each organ. Intrinsic reflexes respond to stimuli originating from within the cardiovascular system. These include the baroreceptor, cardiopulmonary and chemoreceptor reflexes, and their properties are summarized below in Table below. The extrinsic reflexes mediate the cardiovascular response to stimuli originating from for example pain and temperature changes.

Reflexes involve three components:

1. afferent nerves- sense a change in the state of the system, and communicate this to the brain 2. the brain- process this information and implements an appropriate response 3. efferent nerves- response arising from brain results in altering the activity of efferent nerves controlling cardiac and pulmonary function, thereby causing homeostatic response that reverse the change in state Classification A. Intrinsic Cardiovascular Reflexes a. Baroreceptor reflex b. Chemoreceptor reflexes c. The CNS ischemic response d. Cardiopulmonary reflexes B. Extrinsic Cardiovascular Reflexes Table 1. Intrinsic Cardiovascular Reflexes Receptors/Reflex Location Stimulated By Response Activated If pressure decreases: vagal and sympathetic tachycardia; sympathetic vasoconstriction; renin release. If pressure increases opposite effects. Sympathetic vasoconstriction; indirect tachycardia; stimulation of respiration Sympathetic peripheral vasoconstriction


Change in arterial blood carotid sinuses and pressure, affects degree of the aortic arch stretch of arterial wall Severe hypotension, hypoxia, asphyxia causing decreased pO2, increased pCO2 and H+ in blood Brainstem ischeamia

Chemoreceptors Cushing reflex (CNS ischeamic response) Cardiopulmonary receptors: Bainbridge reflex (atrial mechanoreceptors ) atrial nonmyelinated vagal afferents ventricular and coronary nonmyelinated vagal afferents venticular chemoreceptors J-receptors / Lung

carotid sinus and aortic arch




Net effect: Decrease in pressure and volume: Change in blood volume and Sympathetic and/or vagal pressure in central thoracic tachycardia; compartment; affects degree vasoconstriction; of stretch of atria, ventricles, venoconstriction; reduced coronary arteries production of urine Opposite with volume and pressure increase

ventricle Lung

Cardiac ischeamia, drugs Marked lung inflation, pulmonary congestion

Bradycardia; vasodilation Tachycardia; vasodilation