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Compression garments do not alter cerebrovascular responses to orthostatic stress after mild passive heating



Whole-body heating increases the likelihood of syncope, whereas utilizing lower-body compression garments may reduce syncope risk. We hypothesized that graded compression garments would reduce the typically observed large postural reductions in arterial blood pressure and middle cerebral artery velocity, in normothermia and especially once passively heat stressed. Fifteen men (age: 27 ± 4 years, aerobic fitness range: 30–75 mL/kg/min) completed a supine-to-stand orthostatic challenge for 3 min at normothermia and after passive heating (esophageal temperature, +0.5 °C from baseline) on two occasions (> 7 days): once wearing commercially available compression trousers and once wearing low-compression placebo trousers (randomized order). Blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery (transcranial Doppler), mean arterial blood pressure (mean BP: Finometer) and end-tidal carbon dioxide pressure were measured continuously. During normothermia, compression, garments did not alter the magnitude of the postural changes in mean BP or middle cerebral artery velocity. After passive heating, although the magnitudes of these changes were exaggerated, they were not significantly affected by compression garments. Compression garments did not attenuate the initial or sustained orthostatic hypotension associated with posture change, either during normothermia or following passive heat stress.