Prognostic Implications of Baroreflex Sensitivity in Heart Failure Patients in the Beta-Blocking Era

Maria Teresa La Rovere, Gian Domenico Pinna, Roberto Maestri, Elena Robbi, Angelo Caporotondi, Gianpaolo Guazzotti, Peter Sleight, Oreste Febo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study investigated the clinical correlates and prognostic value of depressed baroreceptor-heart rate reflex sensitivity (BRS) among patients with heart failure (HF), with and without beta-blockade. Background: Abnormalities in autonomic reflexes play an important role in the development and progression of HF. Few studies have assessed the effects of beta-blockers on BRS in HF. Methods: The study population consisted of 103 stable HF patients, age (median [interquartile range]) 54 years (48 to 57 years), with New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class ≥III in 22, and with a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 30% (24% to 36%), treated with beta-blockers; and 144 untreated patients, age 55 years (48 to 60 years), with NYHA functional class ≥III in 47%, and an LVEF of 26% (21% to 30%). They underwent BRS testing (phenylephrine technique). Results: In both treated and untreated patients, a lower BRS was associated with a higher (≥III) NYHA functional class (p = 0.0002 and p <0.0001, respectively); a more severe (≥2) mitral regurgitation (p = 0.007 and p = 0.0002), respectively; a lower LVEF (p = 0.0004 and p = 0.001, respectively), baseline RR interval (p = 0.0004 and p = 0.0002, respectively), and SDNN (p <0.0001, p = 0.002, respectively); and a higher blood urea nitrogen (p = 0.004, p <0.0001, respectively). Clinical variables explained only 43% of BRS variability among treated and 36% among untreated patients. During a median follow-up of 29 months, 17 of 103 patients and 55 of 144 patients, respectively, experienced a cardiac event. A depressed BRS (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 13 2009


  • autonomic nervous system
  • baroreceptors
  • beta-blocker
  • heart failure
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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