Early alterations of the baroreceptor control of heart rate in patients with acute myocardial infarction.
Experimental coronary occlusion is accompanied by an acute impairment of the baroreceptor-heart rate reflex. This study was planned to determine whether this impairment also occurs in humans. In 30 patients admitted to a coronary care unit for an anterior (n = 14) or inferior (n = 16) transmural myocardial infarction (MI), we measured 1) the increase in RR interval induced by stimulating carotid baroreceptors through progressive reductions in neck chamber pressure, 2) the increase in RR interval induced by stimulating arterial baroreceptors through intravenous boluses of phenylephrine, and 3) the reduction in RR interval induced by deactivating arterial baroreceptors through intravenous boluses of nitroglycerin. Measurements were performed 49.5 +/- 2.4 hours (mean +/- SEM) after the MI. The results were compared with those of five age-matched patients admitted to the coronary care unit for chest pain and found free from ischemic heart disease. The sensitivity of the carotid baroreceptor-heart rate reflex (slope of the linear regression of RR interval over neck pressure changes) was markedly less in MI than in control patients (3.8 +/- 0.5 vs. 5.9 +/- 0.6 msec/mm Hg, p less than 0.05), the reduction being similar in patients with anterior and inferior MI. This was the case also for the baroreflex sensitivity measured by the phenylephrine and the nitroglycerin methods (slope of the linear regression of RR interval over systolic blood pressure changes). However, 10.2 +/- 0.3 days later, the baroreflex sensitivity measured by all three methods increased significantly (p less than 0.05 or 0.01) and became similar to that of control subjects, which showed no significant change from the early to the late period after admission into the coronary care unit. Thus, MI is accompanied by an acute marked impairment of the baroreceptor control of the heart in humans, and this is the case both for an anterior and an inferior MI. The impairment is largely transient in nature, however, and a clear-cut recovery of the baroreflex can be seen a few days later.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association