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Br Heart J. 1988 Sep;60(3):212-20.

A comparison of sympathoadrenal activity and cardiac performance at rest and during exercise in patients with ventricular demand or atrial synchronous pacing.

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Department of Medicine, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Cardiac sympathetic function was assessed by measuring the coronary sinus overflow of noradrenaline and dopamine at rest and during supine exercise in eight patients with high degree atrioventricular block treated with dual chamber pacemakers (DDD). Patients exercised (30-60 W) during both ventricular inhibited (VVI) and atrial synchronous (VAT) pacing. During exercise cardiac output increased less markedly in the VVI mode than in the VAT mode. The cardiac output response was entirely stroke volume dependent in the VVI mode and mainly heart rate dependent in the VAT mode. Coronary sinus noradrenaline concentrations were higher in the VVI mode at rest and during exercise. Noradrenaline overflow from the heart was enhanced during VVI pacing and increased from about 100 pmol/min (17 ng/min) at rest to 1087 pmol/min during exercise (60 W) in the VVI mode and 545 pmol/min in the VAT mode. Dopamine overflow from the heart was less than 5 pmol/at rest but increased 2-5 fold during exercise. Also arterial concentrations of catecholamine increased more during exercise in the VVI mode, but the differences between pacing modes were less pronounced. Circulating adrenaline seems to be of little importance for cardiac function under these conditions; in healthy individuals the arterial concentrations of adrenaline attained in this study have small effects. Cardiac noradrenaline overflow correlated with pulmonary capillary venous pressures and atrial rates in both pacing modes, indicating a relation between cardiac sympathetic activity and cardiac function. Enhanced cardiac release of noradrenaline may increase cardiac contractility and thereby partially compensate for the lack of heart rate responsiveness to exercise during VVI pacing.

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