Cardiac autonomic function during sleep and wakefulness in multiple sclerosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Some studies in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients have shown evidence of autonomic dysfunction involving the cardiovascular system. However, the findings in these studies have not been completely consistent. The discrepancy may be related to the limits of the traditional autonomic tests during wakefulness. In our study, after the investigation of the cardiovascular reflexes during wakefulness, heart rate (HR) variations were considered during sleep in order to avoid the limits of cooperation and the emotional state of the patient. We evaluated tonic (vagal activity) HR modifications in relation to the deepening of sleep, as well as phasic (sympathetic activity) HR modifications in relation to spontaneous body movements during sleep, in 25 MS patients and 25 age-matched controls. No difference was found between the two groups in autonomic function during wakefulness. A reduced parasympathetic activity was observed in MS subjects during both rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep, while no difference was found in sympathetic function between patients and controls. No significant correlation was found between cardiac autonomic data during sleep and MRI lesion load in the infratentorial areas and, in particular, of the brain stem. The findings of our study suggest that autonomic nervous system evaluation during sleep could show impairment earlier than the traditional autonomic tests during wakefulness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-643
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Volume242
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1995

Keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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