In attempting to determine the mechanism responsible for the clinical benefits obtained by constrictive hyperemia,1 Lewis and Grant2 found that during the period of venous congestion produced by the application of a tourniquet there occurred an increase in arterial amplitude in their plethysmographic tracings. More important, however, was their observation that when the constricting band was released there resulted an increase in arterial flow much out of proportion to the original resting period. This they called reactive hyperemia. Circulatory arrest created for a period of fifteen minutes would effect an increase in flow of as much as 600 per cent after release.
Barsoum and Smirk3 believe that when tissues are subjected to circulatory arrest they liberate a histaminelike substance which they have been able to demonstrate to be present in increased concentration in venous blood after the release of circulatory arrest. It is thought that this substance
COLLENS WS, WILENSKY ND. INTERMITTENT VENOUS OCCLUSION IN TREATMENT OF PERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASEAN EXPERIENCE WITH ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOUR CASES. JAMA. 1937;109(26):2125–2130. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780520015004
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