Time-series analysis of heart rate variability during submaximal exercise. Evidence for reduced cardiac vagal tone in animals susceptible to ventricular fibrillation.
Periodic fluctuations in the R-R interval have been used as noninvasive measures of cardiac autonomic tone. For example, a reduced heart rate variability has been shown to correlate with an increased mortality in patients recovering from myocardial infarction. The effects that physiologic perturbations such as exercise have on this heart rate variability have not been investigated. Therefore, heart rate variability was measured throughout a submaximal exercise test in 36 mongrel dogs with healed anterior myocardial infarctions. The amplitude of the respiratory component (0.24-1.04 Hz) was determined by time-series analysis techniques and was used as an index of cardiac vagal tone. On a subsequent day, a 2-minute coronary occlusion was initiated during the last minute of exercise. Twenty-two animals developed ventricular fibrillation (susceptible), whereas 14 animals did not (resistant). Exercise elicited a significantly greater increase in heart rate (resistant, 205.4 +/- 7.1; susceptible, 227.0 +/- 5.4 beats/min) in susceptible animals, which was accompanied by a greater reduction in the cardiac vagal tone index (resistant, 2.7 +/- 0.3; susceptible, 1.1 +/- 0.2 ln msec2) as compared with resistant animals. Conversely, atropine sulfate (50 micrograms/kg) given during exercise elicited a greater heart rate increase in the resistant dogs (heart rate change: resistant, 54.2 +/- 7.0; susceptible, 18.7 +/- 4.4 beats/min). Taken together, these data suggest that exercise elicited a greater reduction in cardiac vagal tone in animals known to be susceptible to ventricular fibrillation.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association