Continuous and noninvasive recording of cardiovascular parameters with the Finapres finger cuff enhances undergraduate student understanding of physiology

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The Finapres finger cuff recording system provides continuous calculations of beat-to-beat variations in cardiac output (CO), total peripheral resistance, heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (BP). This system is unique in that it allows experimental subjects to immediately, continuously, and noninvasively visualize changes in CO at rest and during exercise. This study provides evidence that using the Finapres system improves undergraduate student engagement, understanding, and learning of how the cardiovascular system responds to exercise. Second-year science students undertaking a physiology practical class in 2009 (n = 243) and 2010 (n = 263) used the Finapres system to record CO, BP, and HR during graded exercise on a cycle ergometer. Student experiences with the Finapres was evaluated with a survey (a 5-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree). This indicated that students appreciated the immediacy of the recordings (88 of students agreed or strongly agreed, average for 2009 and 2010), gained an understanding of how to record physiological data (84 ), enjoyed the practical (81 ), and would recommend the Finapres to other students (81 ). To determine if the practical enhanced student learning of cardiovascular physiology, identical tests were given to the students at the beginning (pretest) and end (posttest) of the class. There was a significant improvement from the pretest to the posttest (4 in 2009 and 20 in 2010). In summary, the ability of the Finapres to continuously display CO, BP, and HR during experimental protocols provides students with immediate feedback and improves their understanding of cardiovascular physiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20 - 26
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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