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The Valsalva maneuver can be used to assess autonomic reflex control of cardiovascular function.

The Valsalva maneuver is performed by attempting to forcibly exhale while keeping the mouth and nose closed.

The Valsalva maneuver is an exercise used to assist in the emptying of the bladder and sometimes, within the context of sexual therapy, to assist in the treatment of the common male sexual problem of premature or rapid ejaculation.

When performed formally, the patient is asked to blow against an aneroid pressure measuring device (manometer) and maintain a pressure of 40 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for 30 seconds. Or, less formally, the patient may be asked to bear down, as if having a bowel movement. During this 30 second period, a recording is made of the changes in blood pressure and murmurs of the heart.

The Valsalva maneuver should not be performed on patients who have severe coronary artery disease, have experienced recent heart attack, or where there is a moderate to severe reduction in blood volume.

It is a relatively simple technique, which in both conditions involves holding the breath while bearing down as if to have a bowel movement.

In cases of the inability to fully empty the bladder, known as flaccid bladder, the Valsalva maneuver is initiated at the end of urination.

The Valsalva maneuver also corrects some rapid heartbeats originating in the atria.

When the maneuver is done correctly, blood pressure rises. This forces the heart to respond by correcting its rhythm and beating more slowly.

Also see Rett's Syndrome

Hyperventillation Syndrome


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