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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2014 Jan;52(1):65-73. doi: 10.1007/s11517-013-1111-0. Epub 2013 Oct 19.

Determinants of vascular and cardiac baroreflex sensitivity values in a random population sample.

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Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The arterial baroreflex regulates blood pressure by modifying heart rate and systemic vascular resistance. Baroreflex sensitivity is expressed as the relation between changes in blood pressure and the resulting changes in reciprocal values of heart rate (cardBRS) and in reciprocal values of vascular resistance (vascBRS). This study investigated determinants of vascBRS and cardBRS and their relationship in a random population sample. Continuous noninvasive arterial pressure was analyzed in 105 adults (43 males) with a median age of 45 (range 18-95) years and body mass index of 24.5 (range 18.1-39.1) kg m⁻². Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 130 (range 95-205) and 80 (range 47-141) mmHg, and heart rate was 66 (range 42-109) beats min⁻¹. Pulse contour (CO-trek)-determined vascular resistance was 1.37 (range 0.60-7.75) mmHg s ml⁻¹. The results of vascBRS and cardBRS were log-transformed; linear regression analysis revealed that age, resistance⁻¹, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were major determinants of log(vascBRS) explaining 30.5 % of the variance. Determinants of log(cardBRS) were age, body mass index, heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, explaining 70.4 % of the variance. Thus, some established determinants of cardBRS were not correlated with vascBRS. There was no correlation between log(cardBRS) and log(vascBRS) after correction for age, supporting that vascBRS is an independent description of baroreflex regulation. These findings suggest that vascBRS and cardBRS report different modalities of cardiovascular autonomic function.

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