Rotary blood pumps (RBPs) used for mechanical circulatory support of heart failure patients cannot passively change pump flow sufficiently in response to frequent variations in preload induced by active postural changes. A physiological control system that mimics the response of the healthy heart is needed to adjust pump flow according to patient demand. Thus, baseline data are required on how the healthy heart and circulatory system (i.e., heart rate (HR) and cardiac output (CO)) respond. This study investigated the response times of the healthy heart during active postural changes (supine-standing-supine) in 50 healthy subjects (27 male/23 female). Early response times (te) and settling times (ts) were calculated for HR and CO from data continuously collected with impedance cardiography. The initial circulatory response of HR and CO resulted in te of 9.0–11.7 s when standing up and te of 4.7–5.7 s when lying back down. Heart rate and CO settled in ts of 50.0–53.6 s and 46.3–58.2 s when standing up and lying down, respectively. In conclusion, when compared to active stand up, HR and CO responded significant faster initially when subjects were lying down (p < 0.05); there were no significant differences in response times between male and female subjects. These data will be used during evaluation of physiological control systems for RBPs, which may improve patient outcomes for end-stage heart failure patients.

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