The compliance of a vessel wall is decreased under certain conditions. One of these is seen with prior distension of the blood vessel. By stretching, a steeper portion of the length-tension curve is utilized. Thus, an increased transmural pressure produces distension and a decrease in compliance.
Compliance is also decreased by movement outward in the arterial tree toward the arterioles, as their relatively thicker and more muscular walls resist stretch more effectively. Wall compliance is decreased by smooth muscle contraction resulting from neural drive and/or from norepinephrine release. As discussed above, aging is another factor which lowers compliance.
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