Influence of age and gender on the phase and strength of the relation between heart period and systolic blood pressure spontaneous fluctuations

Juliana C Milan-Mattos, Alberto Porta, Natália M Perseguini, Vinicius Minatel, Patricia Rehder-Santos, Anielle C M Takahashi, Stela M Mattiello, Aparecida M Catai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging affects baroreflex regulation. The effect of senescence on baroreflex control was assessed from spontaneous fluctuations of heart period (HP) and systolic arterial pressure (SAP) through the HP-SAP gain, while the HP-SAP phase and strength are usually disregarded. This study checks whether the HP-SAP phase and strength, as estimated, respectively, via the phase of the HP-SAP cross spectrum (PhHP-SAP) and squared coherence function (K2HP-SAP), vary with age in healthy individuals and trends are gender-dependent. We evaluated 110 healthy volunteers (55 males) divided into five age subgroups (21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, and 61-70 yr). Each subgroup was formed by 22 subjects (11 males). HP series was extracted from electrocardiogram and SAP from finger arterial pressure at supine resting (REST) and during active standing (STAND). PhHP-SAP and K2HP-SAP functions were sampled in low-frequency (LF, from 0.04 to 0.15 Hz) and in high-frequency (HF, above 0.15 Hz) bands. Both at REST and during STAND PhHP-SAP(LF) showed a negative correlation with age regardless of gender even though values were more negative in women. This trend was shown to be compatible with a progressive increase of the baroreflex latency with age. At REST K2HP-SAP(LF) decreased with age regardless of gender, but during STAND the high values of K2HP-SAP(LF) were more preserved in men than women. At REST and during STAND the association of PhHP-SAP(HF) and K2HP-SAP(HF) with age was absent. The findings points to a greater instability of baroreflex control with age that seems to affect to a greater extent women than men. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Aging increases cardiac baroreflex latency and decreases the degree of cardiac baroreflex involvement in regulating cardiovascular variables. These trends are gender independent but lead to longer delays and asmaller degree of cardiac baroreflex involvement in women than in men, especially during active standing, with important implications on the tolerance to an orthostatic stressor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-804
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018


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