The expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) is a therapeutic resource that comprises an inspiration followed by expiration against resistance. During its application there were adjustments in the cardiovascular system, similar to those observed during the Valsalva maneuver (VM). The aim of this study was to analyze the heart rate (HR) response to VM and to different ways of EPAP application to identify if and in which condition this technique reproduces the HR response observed in the VM, in apparently healthy young men. Ten subjects (24±3 years, 25±3 kg/m²) performed randomly the VM and EPAP procedures on different days. The expiratory effort in VM was sustained for 15 s (oral pressure of 40 mmHg [53.4cm H2O]). Two EPAP techniques were employed (alone and therapeutic) against three pressure levels (10, 15 and 20 cmH2O), randomly applied. The maneuvers were repeated three times with five minutes interval. It was considered the greatest value of HR variation (DHR) for each maneuver analysis. Were used the Shapiro-Wilk test to analyze the data distribution and the ANOVA for repeated measures, with Fisher's post-hoc, considering α<0.05. The DHR values observed in VM were higher (p<0.05) than those found in the different EPAP techniques, regardless the pressure level employee. The EPAP application, in these three level pressures, generates less cardiac overload and does not reproduce HR responses observed in the VM.
positive-pressure respiration; respiratory muscles; autonomic nervous system; Physical Therapy modalities