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A 29-year-old female develops sepsis and, as a consequence, she experiences profound vasodilation.

a) What effect does vasodilation have on the afterload? Explain why.

b) What effect does vasodilation have on blood pressure? Explain why. How will her body try to bring her blood pressure back to homeostasis?

Be detailed in your explanation and support your answer with facts from your textbook, research, and articles from scholarly journals. In addition, remember to add references in APA format to your posts to avoid plagiarism.

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Afterload is the combined load of blood in the ventricle, end diastolic volume, and arterial resistance during ventricular contraction. Vasodilation is when the diameter of a blood vessel increases, therefore increasing the blood flow through the vessel. When blood flow is increased, then vascular resistance decreases as well. The dilation of arteries and arterioles causes a decrease in both arterial blood pressure and heart rate. It works to decrease the total peripheral resistance and blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscle cells of large arteries and smaller arterioles. Increased afterload can cause elevated arterial blood pressure and loss of stretchability in the aorta. In order to keep a constant stroke volume once afterload increases, the ventricle must also increase it’s force of contraction. There are also baroreceptors within the blood vessels, which sends impulses to the cardiovascular center in order to regulate blood pressure. When blood pressure rises, the baroreceptors trigger the parasympathetic stimulation of the heart, causing cardiac output to fall. The sympathetic stimulation of the peripheral arterioles also falls, causing vasodilation. Together, this will allow blood pressure to go down.


Rice University (Ed.). (2013, March 6). Homeostatic Regulation of the Vascular System. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/anatomyandphysiology/chapter/20-4-homeostatic-regulation-of-the-vascular-system/.

Siddiqui, A. (2011, December 20). Effects of Vasodilation and Arterial Resistance on Cardiac Output. Retrieved from https://www.omicsonline.org/effects-of-vasodilation-and-arterial-resistance-on-cardiac-output-2155-9880.1000170.php?aid=3452.