The baroreceptor control of the sinus node was evaluated in 10 normotensive and 10 age-matched essential hypertensive subjects in whom ambulatory blood pressure was recorded intra-arterially for 24 hours and scanned by a computer to identify the sequences of three or more consecutive beats in which systolic blood pressure (SBP) and pulse interval (PI) progressively rose (+PI/+SBP) or fell (-PI/-SBP) in a linear fashion, according to a method validated in cats. In normotensive subjects, several hundred +PI/+SBP and -PI/-SBP sequences of 3 beats were found whereas the number of sequences of 4, 5, and more than 5 beats showed a progressive drastic reduction. The mean slopes of +PI/+SBP (7.6 ± 2.0 msec/mm Hg) and -PI/-SBP (6.4 ± 1.5 msec/mm Hg) sequences were similar, but in both instances there was a large scattering of the values around the mean (variation coefficients: 64.2 ± 4.7 and 62.6 ± 2.4%). The slopes decreased as a function of the sequence length and baseline heart rate and increased to a marked extent during the night as compared with daytime values. All sequences were more rare (-33.2% for +PI/+SBP and -31.7% for -PI/-SBP) and less steep in hypertensive subjects (-40.3 and -36.2%, respectively), who failed to show the marked nighttime increase in slope observed in normotensive subjects. To our knowledge, these observations provide the first description in humans of the baroreceptor-heart rate reflex in daily life. This reflex is characterized by marked within-subject variations in sensitivity due in part to hemodynamic, temporal, and behavioral factors. All features of the baroreceptor-heart rate reflex are impaired in essential hypertension.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1988|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine