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Muscle Nerve. 1990 Feb;13(2):152-7.

The effect of aging on cardiac autonomic and postganglionic sudomotor function.

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Department of Neurology, Mayo Foundation, Rochester 55905.


Little quantitative information is available on the effects of age on peripheral autonomic function. We studied the effect of age on the heart rate (HR) responses to deep breathing and the Valsalva maneuver in 122 and 155 subjects, respectively, aged 10 to 83 years. The quantitative sudomotor axon reflex test (QSART) was determined in 114 subjects in the same age group. The HR responses were not different between the sexes, but a consistently significant regression with age was demonstrated in response to deep breathing and the Valsalva ratio. The QSART responses were significantly larger in male subjects and were generally lower in older subjects of both sexes but a significant negative regression with age was found only in female subjects. Cardiac vagal function is impaired with age, but postganglionic sympathetic function is little affected by age, suggesting selectivity of effects of aging on autonomic function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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