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Cardiovasc J Afr. 2009 Sep-Oct;20(5):296-9.

The effect of sympathomimetic medication on cardiovascular functioning of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria.



The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of sympathomimetic medication on the cardiovascular system of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Cardiovascular functioning of children with ADHD (n = 19) was tested while the children were stimulant free and during a period in which they were on stimulant medication. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) were obtained by means of a Schiller CardioLaptop AT-110 ECG recorder using the standard 12-lead cable positioning for a resting ECG. Blood pressure was measured by means of a stethoscope and mercury sphygmomanometer.


The main findings of this study were that methylphenidate usage is associated with increases in heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP), and that it does not adversely affect HR-corrected QT and JT intervals or cardiac dispersion values.


Methylphenidate causes an increase in HR as well as increases in both systolic and diastolic BP, but no change in cardiac depolarisation and repolarisation duration or homogeneity.

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