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J Hypertens. 2004 Sep;22(9):1747-53.

Sympathetic and baroreflex function in hypertensive or heart failure patients with ventricular arrhythmias.

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1
Clinica Medica, Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica, Prevenzione e Biotecnologie Sanitarie, Università Milano Bicocca, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether in hypertension and in heart failure the occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias is associated with alterations in sympathetic drive and baroreflex function.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

We studied 28 untreated essential hypertensives (age, 53.0 +/- 1.1 years, mean +/- standard error of the mean), 15 without and 13 with monofocal premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) in Lown class I, and 30 heart failure patients (age, 53.8 +/- 1.3 years) in New York Health Association class II-III, 17 without and 13 with PVCs also in Lown class I. In each patient we measured, along with echocardiographic variables, the beat-to-beat mean blood pressure (Finapress), heart rate (HR) (EKG), muscle sympathetic nerve traffic (MSNA) (microneurography), venous plasma norepinephrine and renin activity (high-pressure liquid chromatography and radioimmunoassay, respectively). Measurements were performed at rest and during arterial baroreceptor stimulation and deactivation via stepwise intravenous infusion of phenylephrine and nitroprusside, respectively.

RESULTS:

The mean blood pressure, HR and MSNA were similar in hypertensive patients without and with PVCs. However, compared with non-arrhythmic patients, hypertensives with PVCs displayed a baroreflex-HR and baroreflex-MSNA modulation reduced by 27.7 +/- 4.2 and 17.9 +/- 2.8%, respectively (P < 0.05). Heart failure patients with PVCs showed haemodynamic and echocardiographic variables superimposable to those without PVCs. Compared with these patients, however, they exhibited a significant increase in MSNA values (75.8 +/- 3.0 versus 63.6 +/- 2.8 bs/100 hb, P < 0.05), coupled with a significant impairment in baroreflex-HR and baroreflex-MSNA control (-52.5 +/- 5.4 and -37.5 +/- 3.6%, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

These data provide evidence that in both hypertension and heart failure, sympathetic and baroreflex mechanisms exert a pro-arrhythmogenic role. This role, however, appears to be more pronounced in heart failure than in hypertension, in which the impaired vagal function may exert a concomitant favouring effect.

PMID:
15311103
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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