Effect of respiratory pattern on automated clinical blood pressure measurement: An observational study with normotensive subjects

Natalia Herakova, Nnenna Harmony Nzeribe Nwobodo, Ying Wang, Fei Chen, Dingchang Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It has been reported that deep breathing could reduce blood pressures (BP) in general. It is also known that BP is decreased during inhalation and increased during exhalation. Therefore, the measured BPs could be potentially different during deep breathing with different lengths of inhalation and exhalation. This study aimed to quantitatively investigate the effect of different respiratory patterns on BPs. Methods: Forty healthy subjects (20 males and 20 females, aged from 18 to 60 years) were recruited. Systolic and diastolic BPs (SBP and DBP) were measured using a clinically validated automated BP device. There were two repeated measurement sessions for each subject. Within each session, eight BP measurements were performed, including 4 measurements during deep breathing with different respiratory patterns (Pattern 1: 4.5 s vs 4.5 s; Patter 2: 6 s vs 2 s; Pattern 3: 2 s vs 6 s; and Pattern 4: 1.5 s vs 1.5 s, respectively for the durations of inhalation and exhalation) and additional 4 measurements from 1 min after the four different respiratory patterns. At the beginning and end of the two repeated measurement sessions, there were two baseline BP measurements under resting condition. Results: The key experimental results showed that overall automated SBP significantly decreased by 3.7 ± 5.7 mmHg, 3.9 ± 5.2 mmHg, 1.7 ± 5.9 mmHg and 3.3 ± 5.3 mmHg during deep breathing, respectively for Patterns 1, 2, 3 and 4 (all p < 0.001 except p < 0.05 for Pattern 3). Similarly, the automated DBPs during deep breathing in pattern 1, 2 and 4 decreased by 3.7 ± 5.0 mmHg, 3.7 ± 4.9 mmHg and 4.6 ± 3.9 mmHg respectively (all p < 0.001, except in Pattern 3 with a decrease of 1.0 ± 4.3 mmHg, p = 0.14). Correspondingly, after deep breathing, automated BPs recovered back to normal with no significant difference in comparison with baseline BP (all p > 0.05, except for SBP in Pattern 4). Conclusions: In summary, this study has quantitatively demonstrated that the measured automated BPs decreased by different amounts with all the four deep breathing patterns, which recovered back quickly after these single short-term interventions, providing evidence of short-term BP decrease with deep breathing and that BP measurements should be performed under normal breathing condition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Hypertension
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


  • Blood pressure
  • Breathing pattern
  • Diastolic
  • Exhalation
  • Fast-deep breathing
  • Inhalation
  • Respiratory pattern
  • Slow-deep breathing
  • Systolic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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