Effects of bilateral lung transplantation on cardiac autonomic modulation and cardiorespiratory coupling: a prospective study

E. Tobaldini, G. D. Rodrigues, G. Mantoan, A. Monti, G. Coti Zelati, Ludovico Furlan, P. Tarsia, L. C. Morlacchi, V. Rossetti, I. Righi, L. Rosso, M. Nosotti, P. P.S. Soares, N. Montano, S. Aliberti, F. Blasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although cardiac autonomic modulation has been studied in several respiratory diseases, the evidence is limited on lung transplantation, particularly on its acute and chronic effects. Thus, we aimed to evaluate cardiac autonomic modulation before and after bilateral lung transplantation (BLT) through a prospective study on patients enrolled while awaiting transplant. Methods: Twenty-two patients on the waiting list for lung transplantation (11 women, age 33 [24–51] years) were enrolled in a prospective study at Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico Hospital in Milan, Italy. To evaluate cardiac autonomic modulation, ten minutes ECG and respiration were recorded at different time points before (T0) and 15 days (T1) and 6 months (T2) after bilateral lung transplantation. As to the analysis of cardiac autonomic modulation, heart rate variability (HRV) was assessed using spectral and symbolic analysis. Entropy-derived measures were used to evaluate complexity of cardiac autonomic modulation. Comparisons of autonomic indices at different time points were performed. Results: BLT reduced HRV total power, HRV complexity and vagal modulation, while it increased sympathetic modulation in the acute phase (T1) compared to baseline (T0). The HRV alterations remained stable after 6 months (T2). Conclusion: BLT reduced global variability and complexity of cardiac autonomic modulation in acute phases, and these alterations remain stable after 6 months from surgery. After BLT, a sympathetic predominance and a vagal withdrawal could be a characteristic autonomic pattern in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156
JournalRespiratory Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Cardiac autonomic modulation
  • Heart rate variability
  • Lung transplantation
  • Spectral analysis
  • Symbolic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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