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Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia

Print version ISSN 0066-782XOn-line version ISSN 1678-4170


BARBOSA FILHO, José; BENCHIMOL-BARBOSA, P. R.  and  CORDOVIL, Ivan. Autonomic Modulation of the Heart in Systemic Arterial Hypertension. Arq. Bras. Cardiol. [online]. 2002, vol.78, n.2, pp.189-195. ISSN 0066-782X.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the heart rate variability in patients with mild to moderate systemic arterial hypertension. METHODS: Thirty-two healthy (group I) and 70 systemic arterial hypertensive (group II) individuals, divided according to age (40 to 59 and 60 to 80 years old, respectively) and with a similar distribution by sex were studied. Thirty-one had left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), 22 were overweight, and 16 had Type II diabetes mellitus. Smoking, alcohol ingestion, and sedentary habits were the same between groups. Variability in heart rate was analyzed in the time domain, using standard deviations of normal RR intervals (SDNN) and the differences between maximal brady- and tachycardia (D-BTmax) during sustained inspiration. Analysis of the frequency band of the power spectrum between 0.05 and 0.40 Hz at rest and during controlled respiration was chosen for analysis of the frequency domain. RESULTS: In both time and frequency domains, variables were lower in group II than in group I. Within groups, statistically significant variables were only found for individuals in the 40 to 59 year old group. The presence of LVH, overweight, or diabetes mellitus did not influence the variability in heart rate to a significant extent. CONCLUSION: Variability in heart rate was a valuable instrument for analyzing autonomic modulation of the heart in arterial hypertension. The autonomic system undergoes significant losses in cardio-modulatory capacity, more evident in subjects between 40 and 59 years old. In those over 60 years old, reduced variability in heart rate imposed by aging was not significantly influenced by the presence of systemic arterial hypertension.

Keywords : autonomic cardiac modulation; systemic arterial hypertension; heart rate variability.

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