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Primary Sjogrens syndrome is associated with impaired autonomic response to orthostasis and sympathetic failure

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Fai NgORCiD, Katharine Wilton, Sheryl Mitchell, Emerita Professor Julia Newton


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Background: Symptoms in keeping with autonomic dysfunction are commonly described by primary Sjogrens syndrome patients (pSS); whether objective abnormalities of autonomic function occur is unclear. This study set out to explore dynamic cardiovascular autonomic responses in pSS and their relationship with symptoms and quality of life. Methods: Twenty-one people from the UK pSS registry, 21 community controls and 21 patients with the autoimmune liver disease primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) (matched case-wise for age and sex) attended for assessment of autonomic responses to orthostasis and Valsalva manoeuvre (VM). pSS patients also completed EULAR Sjogrens Syndrome patient-reported index (ESSPRI), EULAR Sjogren's syndrome disease activity index (ESSDAI), fatigue impact scale and EURO-QOL 5-dimension (EQ-5D). Results: Compared with controls, pSS patients had significantly lower baseline systolic blood pressure (SBP) (114 +/- 13 vs. 127 +/- 20; P=0.02), which dropped to a significantly lower value (98 22 vs. 119 +/- 24, P=0.009). When area under the curve (AUC) was calculated for when the SBP was below baseline this was significantly greater in pSS compared to both control groups (pSS vs. control vs. PBC: 153 +/- 236 vs. 92 +/- 85 vs. 1.2 +/- 0.3, P=0.005). Peak phase IV SBP during the VM was significantly lower in pSS (P=0.007) indicating early sympathetic failure. Increased heart rate associated with fatigue (P = 0.02; r(2) = 0.2) and EQ-5D. A shift in sympathetic-vagal balance associated with overall symptom burden (ESSPRI) (P=0.04, r(2) = 0.3) and EULAR sicca score (P=0.016; r(2) = 0.3), the latter also correlated with baroreceptor effectiveness (P=0.03; r(2)=0.2) and diastolic blood pressure variability (P=0.003; r(2) = 0.4). Conclusion: pSS patients have impaired blood pressure response to standing. Dysautonomia correlates with PSS-associated symptoms and quality of life.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ng WF, Stangroom AJ, Davidson A, Wilton K, Mitchell S, Newton JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: QJM

Year: 2012

Volume: 105

Issue: 12

Pages: 1191-1199

Print publication date: 13/09/2012

ISSN (print): 1460-2725

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2393

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/qjmed/hcs172


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Funder referenceFunder name
UK National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre in Ageing - Cardiovascular theme
the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Musculoskeletal Comprehensive Local Research Network
G0800629Medical Research Council