Describe the physiological control of systemic vascular resistance (SVR).

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College Answer

This question invited a detailed discussion of the physiological control mechanisms in health, not pathophysiology nor drug-mediated effects. The central and reflex control mechanisms that regulate SVR over time are distinct from the local determinants of SVR. There was often confusion between dependent and independent variables. Cardiac output is generally depended upon SVR, not vice versa, even though SVR can be mathematically calculated from CO and driving pressures. The question asked about systemic vascular resistance and did not require a discussion of individual organs except for a general understanding that local autoregulation versus central neurogenic control predominates in different tissues. Emotional state, temperature, pain and pulmonary reflexes were frequently omitted. Peripheral and central chemoreceptors and low-pressure baroreceptors were relevant to include along with high pressure baroreceptors.