Evidence of functional alterations in sympathetic activity after myocardial infarction

M. T. Spinnler, F. Lombardi, C. Moretti, G. Sandrone, V. Podio, T. Spandonari, D. Torzillo, A. Brusca, A. Malliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess whether the presence of areas of efferent sympathetic denervation might contribute to alterations in sympathetic and vagal neural regulatory activities observed after myocardial infarction, we attempted to correlate the changes in the spectral components of RR variability with the l-123 MIBG and Thallium-201 uptake defects. Ten patients with first and uncomplicated myocardial infarction were studied. Thallium-201 and I-123 MIBG scintigraphy as well as spectral analysis of heart rate variability were performed 7 days, 4, 12 and 30 months after the acute event. Regional abnormalities in I-123 MIBG uptake were more extensive than the perfusion defects indicated by Thallium-201 images and remained constant throughout the entire period of observation. In the early post-infarction period, spectral analysis of RR variability was characterized by a predominant LF (74+6nu) and as smaller HF (16+3nu) component indicating a sympathetic predominance. Thereafter, we observed a progressive reduction in LF and a gradual increase in HF which were consistent with a normalization of sympatho-vagal balance. These data indicate that after a myocarfial infarction, the presence and persistence of areas of sympathetic functional denervation do not seem to play a major role in determining the changes in sympathetic and vagal neural regulatory activities directed to the heart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1334-1343
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Heart rate variability
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Myocardial scintigraphy
  • Sympathetic activation
  • Sympathetic efferent denervation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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