Role of the Frank-Starling Mechanism In Exercise
The mechanisms which determine the response of stroke volume to mild, moderate, and severe exercise were compared in nine dogs running on a level treadmill. The dogs ran for 3-minute periods at 3-4 mph (mild exercise), 6-8 mph (moderate exercise), and 10-14 mph (severe exercise). Heart rate increased from a standing control value of 107 ± 6 beats/min to 191 ± 10 beats/min in mild, 221 ± 8 beats/min in moderate, and 263 ± 9 beats/min in severe exercise. Stroke volume increased 14%, 19%, and 15% for mild, moderate, and severe exercise, respectively. During mild exercise, left ventricular internal diameter decreased at end-systole but was unchanged at end-diastole. During moderate and severe exercise, end-diastolic diameter increased consistently as did left ventricular end-diastolic pressure. It was concluded that, despite extremely high heart rates, stroke volume increased during exercise. The augmentation in stroke volume was due to the combined effects of an increase in contractility, caused by increased sympathetic nervous system activity, and the operation of the Frank-Starling mechanism.
- Received June 12, 1972.
- Accepted October 17, 1972.
- © 1972 American Heart Association, Inc.