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By John Ernsting; P F King

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The inspiratory increase in heart rate can occur only if there is ongoing vagal activity to inhibit. With increasing age, cardiac vagal tone declines and sinus arrhythmia becomes less pronounced. 3). When standing completely still, the pressure rise in arteries and veins is similar and, hence, the pressure difference across the foot capillary bed is unchanged by the direct effect of gravity. If blood vessels were rigid, blood flow in the foot would be unaffected by changing posture. 3 Pressures in arteries (solid lines) and veins (dotted lines) in the supine (a) and upright (b) postures.

These circulatory responses to thermal stress are discussed fully in Chapter 13. The process underlying the exchange of gases between the blood and the environment is termed external respiration. The carriage of gases to and from the tissues, and the gas exchange in the tissues, constitute internal respiration. RESPIRATORY PHYSIOLOGY Tissue respiration It is convenient to consider respiration as occurring in a series of steps as follows: • • • • Consumption of oxygen and production of carbon dioxide by the tissues.

This reflex is probably much less potent in humans. Distension of the atria also produces diuresis and natriuresis by increased secretion of the hormone atrial natriuretic peptide from specialized atrial cells in response to stretch. It seems likely that by both of these mechanisms, the atria contribute to the control of blood volume. CORONARY ARTERY BARORECEPTORS In recent years, it has been recognized that the coronary arteries contain important baroreceptors and that these work alongside the better-known carotid sinus and aortic arch arterial baroreceptors to help control arterial blood pressure.

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