How Cardiac Output and Peripheral Resistance Increases and Decreases Blood Pressure

How Cardiac Output and Peripheral Resistance Increases and Decreases Blood Pressure


Blood pressure highly determines an individual’s health. It is the force induced by the blood as it passes against the arteries’ walls. Systolic pressure is the force the blood induces as it passes against the arteries’ walls when the heart beats. On the other hand, diastolic pressure occurs when the heart is resting. A healthy or normal blood pressure induces a pressure of 120/80 mm Hg, while unhealthy blood pressure induces a pressure of above 140/90 mm. The cardiovascular system is responsible for regulating blood pressure. It comprises cardiac output, peripheral resistance, and fluid volume regulation. Therefore, this article will discuss how cardiac output and peripheral resistance increase and decreases blood pressure.


  1. Cardiac Output.

Cardiac output refers to the volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute. Therefore, it is the mechanism by which blood circulates throughout the body, supplying the blood to the brain and essential organs (Álvarez et al., 2021). Cardiac output is directly proportional to the body’s demand for oxygen. Therefore, heart rate (HR) and contractility adjustment alter the cardiac output.

Thus, heart rate (HR) and contractility are two important factors influencing the cardiac output. Cardiac output increases as the heart rate raises, while a decrease in heart rate decreases cardiac output (Álvarez et al., 2021). For instance, a cyclist’s heart rate increases the quicker they pedal the bicycle, increasing cardiac output. The cardiac output increases since more blood are pumped to essential organs, such as leg muscles, supporting cyclists’ activity. In contrast, when the cyclist grows fatigued and slows down, their heart rate will fall, decreasing cardiac output (Álvarez et al., 2021). Similarly, the contraction of the heart muscles as the cyclist pedals quicker cause the cardiac output to increase as more blood volume is pumped and vice versa.

Therefore, any nervous system element that increases cardiac output indirectly raises blood pressure. The blood pressure increases since an increase in cardiac output raise the blood flow (Álvarez et al., 2021). These nervous system-based factors include sympathetic activation, norepinephrine, epinephrine catecholamines, and elevated calcium ion levels.

Inversely, nervous system-based factors that reduce cardiac output lowers arterial blood pressure indirectly. The blood pressure drops since a decline in cardiac output reduces the blood flow (Álvarez et al., 2021). These nervous system-based factors include decreased calcium levels, parasympathetic stimulation, and anoxia.


  1. Peripheral Resistance

Peripheral resistance is the circulatory system’s defiance. It is, thus, mainly used to regulate cardiac output and the flow of blood (Jackson, 2021). Peripheral vascular resistance increases when the blood vessels constrict through vasoconstriction. In contrast, peripheral vascular resistance decreases when the blood vessels dilate via vasodilation. Pulmonary vascular resistance refers to resistance induced as the blood flows in pulmonary vasculature system.

Vascular disease and hormonal signals are the prevalent peripheral vascular resistance factors. For example, vascular diseases, such as heart attack, causes arteries’ stiffening, increasing peripheral vascular resistance (Jackson, 2021). Likewise, hormonal signals that release norepinephrine hormone trigger the release of Calcium protein into the blood cells making the blood vessels contract and increasing peripheral vascular resistance. However, the treatment of vascular diseases and the reduction of norepinephrine hormone lowers peripheral vascular resistance.

Blood pressure increases when peripheral vascular resistance increases. For instance, an increase in peripheral vascular resistance due to hormones, such as norepinephrine, endothelin, and thromboxane, causes the blood pressure to increase (Jackson, 2021). The blood pressure increases as a high peripheral vascular resistance caused by deposited Calcium-dependent protein kinases into the bloodstream shrinks the blood vessel.

In contrast, blood pressure declines when peripheral vascular resistance falls. For instance, a low peripheral vascular resistance caused by the secretion of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormones relaxes the blood vessels, lowering the blood pressure (Jackson, 2021). The blood pressure lowers as these hormone vessels relax endothelium-depleted blood arteries, allowing blood to flow over a large surface area.


Álvarez-Montoya, D., Madrid-Muñoz, C., Escobar-Robledo, L., Gallo-Villegas, J., & Aristizábal-Ocampo, D. (2021). A novel method for the noninvasive estimation of cardiac output with brachial oscillometric blood pressure measurements through an assessment of arterial compliance. Blood Pressure Monitoring26(6), 426-434.

Jackson, W. F. (2021). The myogenic tone in peripheral resistance arteries and arterioles: the pressure is on!. Frontiers in Physiology12.




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