Arterial baroreflex abnormalities in heart failure. Reversal after orthotopic cardiac transplantation.
Arterial baroreflex control of the heart and peripheral circulation is markedly impaired in humans and animals with congestive heart failure. After reversal of heart failure in animal models, arterial baroreflex control of heart rate remains impaired for up to 8 months. Cardiac transplantation restores normal ventricular function and completely reverses heart failure, but does it normalize arterial baroreflex control of heart rate in humans? We studied baroreflex sensitivity in 11 patients with severe heart failure, six normal control patients, and 23 patients at 2 weeks to 4 years after orthotopic cardiac transplantation. Baroreflex sensitivity was assessed with intravenous bolus injections of phenylephrine and is expressed as change in RR or PP interval (msec) per millimeters of mercury rise in systolic arterial pressure. Atrial rate of both donor (denervated) and recipient (innervated) atria were measured in the transplant group. Baroreflex sensitivity in patients with severe heart failure was 2.0 +/- 0.3 msec/mm Hg, but in patients after cardiac transplantation, it was 13.0 +/- 0.9 msec/mm Hg (p less than 0.001). The responses in the transplant group were similar to those observed in normal controls (10 +/- 1.2 msec/mm Hg, p = NS). Our data indicate that patients with severe congestive heart failure have marked abnormalities of baroreflex control, which are reversed as early as 2 weeks after cardiac transplantation. In view of this rapid reversal, we consider it unlikely that abnormal baroreflex sensitivity seen in heart failure is due to structural alterations in the baroreceptors. We speculate that neurohumoral rather than structural abnormalities account for depressed baroreflex sensitivity in heart failure.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association