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Relationship of baroreflex sensitivity and blood pressure in an older population

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Frances Harrington, Emeritus Professor Alan MurrayORCiD, Professor Gary Ford


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Objectives: Ageing and hypertension are associated with reduced baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) in young and middle-aged populations. The effects of blood pressure level on BRS in the older population are unclear. We examined the association between blood pressure and BRS in older persons with blood pressure below 180 mmHg. Methods: BRS, high (αHF 0.15-0.4 Hz) and low (αLF 0.04-0.15 Hz)frequency α-index, was determined in 75 normotensive subjects (aged 75 ± 4 years, 41% female, 131 ± 10/74 ± 7 mmHg) and 64 untreated hypertensive subjects (aged 76 ± 5 years, 48% female, 165 ± 7/88 ± 7 mmHg) by spectral analysis of 20 min continuous blood pressure and heart rate recordings using finger plethysmography. Subjects were recruited from 10 general practices and were taking no cardiovascular medications. Results: High but not low frequency α-index was significantly blunted in hypertensive subjects (αHF 5.1 ± 3.1 versus 8.4 ± 7.4 ms/mmHg, P<0.001 and αLF 4.7 ± 3.0 versus 5.8 ± 3.9 ms/mmHg, P=0.07). Multivariate analysis of the relationship between age and blood pressure demonstrated systolic and to a lesser extent diastolic blood pressure were significant predictors of variance in BRS for αHF [systolic blood pressure (SBP) P<0.0001, diastolic blood pressure (DBP) P<0.05, r2 = 0.1] and αLF (SBP P=0.01, DBP P<0.05, r2 = 0.04). Age was not a significant predictor for either measure, in the 20 year range studied. Conclusions: In an older population blood pressure is associated with reduced BRS, particularly for the high frequency component. Such a change may place older subjects with hypertension at increased risk of orthostatic hypotension, vasovagal syncope and sudden cardiac death. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Murray A; Harrington F; Ford GA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Hypertension

Year: 2000

Volume: 18

Issue: 11

Pages: 1629-1633

Print publication date: 01/01/2000

ISSN (print): 0263-6352

ISSN (electronic): 1473-5598

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1097/00004872-200018110-00014

PubMed id: 11081776


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