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Efficiency of Pneumatic Tourniquet Cuff With Asymmetric Pressure Distribution at Rest and During Isometric Muscle Action

Ipavec, Matej1; Grapar Žargi, Tina1; Jelenc, Jure2; Kacin, Alan1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 9 - p 2570–2578
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002678
Original Research

Ipavec, M, Grapar Žargi, T, Jelenc, J, and Kacin, A. Efficiency of pneumatic tourniquet cuff with asymmetric pressure distribution at rest and during isometric muscle action. J Strength Cond Res 33(9): 2570–2578, 2019—The aim of this study was to compare effects of newly designed double-chamber cuff with asymmetric pressure (APC) distribution and standard single-chamber cuff with symmetric pressure (SPC) distribution on muscle perfusion and volitional activation. First, the 2 cuffs were compared bilaterally on resting thigh muscles of 17 healthy volunteers at 4 cuff pressures (120, 160, 200, and 240 mm Hg). Then, the subjects performed the isometric endurance test of knee extensor muscles to volitional failure at 40% of maximal volitional isometric action in both free-flow and blood flow restricted condition. Changes in hemoglobin kinetics in vastus lateralis muscle (near-infrared spectroscopy), surface electromyography of vastus medialis muscle, and pain intensity (visual analogue scale [VAS]) were continuously recorded. At rest, a significant difference (p = 0.009) in velocity of change in total hemoglobin concentration was noted between the cuffs at 160 mm Hg (APC = 0.028 μM·s−1 and SPC = 0.056 μM·s−1). The VAS scores significantly increased (p = 0.031) at pressures ≥200 mm Hg, with no difference between the cuffs. Duration of isometric action with blood flow restriction was 12% shorter (p = 0.003) than in free-flow condition, with no difference between the cuffs. There were no significant differences in muscle activation or hemoglobin kinetics between the exercise conditions or cuff types. The results show that APC reduces blood flow in quadriceps femoris muscle at rest at lower pressure than SPC, which suggests its enhanced efficiency for blood flow restriction. Given that application of either type of cuff during sustained isometric action had only minor impact on muscle endurance and oxygen kinetics, future research must focus primarily on dynamic muscle actions.

1Faculty of Health Sciences, Laboratory of Physiotherapy, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia; and

2Iskra Medical d.o.o., Ljubljana, Slovenia

Address correspondence to Alan Kacin,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.