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Clin Auton Res. 2003 Jun;13(3):208-13.

Sympathoexcitation is attenuated during low level lower body negative pressure in subjects who develop pre-syncope.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center & Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


The purpose of this study was to compare the hemodynamic and sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) responses to graded lower body negative pressure (LBNP) in healthy subjects with either a positive (n = 24, SNA in 8) or a negative (n = 18, SNA in 6) LBNP response. A positive LBNP response was defined as an abrupt drop in systolic blood pressure associated with a decrease in heart rate and/or a decrease in SNA. All positive responses were accompanied by symptoms common to pre-syncope, defined as lightheadedness, diaphoresis, tunnel vision and/or nausea. If subjects tolerated 30 minutes of LBNP, this was considered a negative response. Comparisons were made between baseline, -10 mmHg (low-level LBNP) and -60 mmHg (high-level LBNP). Baseline SNA and arterial baroreflex sensitivity were not different between the 2 groups. However, subjects with pre-syncope had a significantly attenuated SNA response during low-level LBNP (p < 0.05) compared to subjects who did not experience pre-syncope. The hemodynamic data during high-level LBNP were similar until the occurrence of pre-syncope. Pre-syncope was preceded by a significant decrease in heart rate and SNA. Our findings suggest that subjects with LBNP induced pre-syncope might have an impairment in the cardiopulmonary baroreflex gain function in the setting of a preserved arterial baroreflex gain.

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