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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Aug;22(8):741-50.

Heart rate and blood pressure variability in obese normotensive subjects.

Author information

1
I Clinica Medica, University of Rome, La Sapienza, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess autonomic modulation of cardiovascular activity in massively obese subjects.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional clinical study.

SUBJECTS:

43 age-matched normotensive subjects: 15 moderately obese (body mass index (BMI) < 40); 14 massively obese (BMI > 40) and 14 nonobese controls (BMI < 26).

MEASUREMENTS:

Using power spectral analysis, heart rate and arterial pressure variability were determined at rest and after sympathetic stress (tilt). Two spectral components were analysed: a low-frequency (LF) component at around 0.1 Hz, predominantly reflecting sympathetic modulation and a high-frequency (HF) component at around 0.26 Hz, reflecting parasympathetic modulation.

RESULTS:

Spectral data for heart rate showed that the massively obese subjects had lower LF [mean +/- s.e.m.] normalized units (NUs) at rest (35.1 +/- 0.9) and after tilt (56.1 +/- 2.1), than the moderately obese subjects (LF NUs at rest 53.9 +/- 4.2, P < 0.001; LF NUs tilt: 66.8 +/- 5.6, P < 0.001) and nonobese control subjects (LF NUs at rest, 56.6 +/- 3.0, P < 0.001); (LF NUs tilt: 81.7 +/- 1.7, P < 0.001). Data for systolic arterial pressure variability measured at rest exhibited the inverse pattern, the massively obese group having higher mean LF values (LF mm Hg2 rest: 15.0 +/- 1.4; LF mm Hg2 tilt: 15.7 +/- 1.5) than the moderately obese group (LF mm Hg2 rest 3.2 +/- 0.7, P < 0.001; LF mm Hg2 tilt: 7.2 +/- 2.0, P < 0.001) and than the nonobese control subjects (LF mm Hg2 rest 3.5 +/- 0.5, LF mm Hg2 tilt 8.5 +/- 0.8, P < 0.001). Regression detected a significant association between BMI and LF of systolic pressure (beta = 0.364; P = 0.0007), In LF of heart rate (beta = -5.555; P = 0.00001) and very low frequency (VLF) of diastolic pressure (beta = -3.305; P = 0.0020).

CONCLUSION:

Obesity seems to increase sympathetic modulation of arterial pressure, but diminishes modulation of heart rate. Because our obese subjects had high plasma noradrenaline levels, their low LF power of heart rate could reflect diminished adrenoceptor responsiveness.

PMID:
9725633
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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