1. The carotid baroreceptors were stimulated for 2 min by neck suction at −30 and −60 mmHg in 19 normotensive subjects and 12 patients with moderate essential hypertension.

2. Blood pressure was measured with a mercury sphygmomanometer and heart rate was derived from beat-to-beat analysis of the electrocardiogram. Blood flow was measured simultaneously at calf and finger with venous occlusion plethysmography and the vascular resistance was calculated.

3. During neck suction at − 30 and − 60 mmHg there was a significant decrease in arterial blood pressure and heart rate. There was a transient vasodilatation of the calf blood vessels, while there was a sustained vasoconstriction of the finger blood vessels. These results were qualitatively similar in both groups; however, there were quantitative differences.

4. These experiments show that there is a selective autonomic control of the different peripheral vascular beds by the carotid baroreceptors in both normotension and mild essential hypertension.

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