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Backpack straps can decrease blood flow in the shoulder and arm
Date:4/7/2008

ack.

To test their theory, they examined eight healthy volunteers, six men and two women between the ages of 18-30. The right brachial artery was measured using ultrasound and the index finger pulp microvascular flow was measured using the photoplethysmography method. Baseline flows were measured immediately before and ten minutes after donning a 26 pound backpack. A ten minute testing period was chosen because people typically wear a backpack for at least ten minutes. This amount of time is also sufficient to measure flood flow.

After wearing the pack for ten minutes, brachial artery blood flow decreased from 2.66 0.36 to 1.52 0.27 mL/s (p<0.05, paired T-test), and index finger microvascular flow decreased from 100 percent to 466 percent (p<0.05, paired test).

Conclusions

The researchers concluded that backpack loads of just 26 pounds decrease upper extremity macrovascular and microvascular blood flows, and may result in a loss of fine motor control and increased fatigue. According to Timothy Neuschwander, MD, the first author of the study and a physician, We surmise that the mechanism of diminished blood flow is likely due to strap compression of the axillary vein. We think that backpack straps may benefit from a redesign that skirts the vein leading from the upper extremity to the heart.


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Contact: Donna Krupa
DKrupa@the-aps.org
619-525-6202
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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