Recovery of attenuated baroreflex sensitivity in conscious dogs after reversal of pacing induced heart failure.
OBJECTIVE: Rapid ventricular pacing reliably induces severe congestive heart failure in dogs, with an associated attenuation of baroreflex sensitivity. Unique to this model is the capacity for rapid recovery of haemodynamics and plasma noradrenaline following the cessation of pacing; however, whether baroreflex sensitivity will similarly recover is unknown. The aims of this study were (1) to assess baroreflex control of heart rate in response to acute hypertensive and hypotensive stimuli during the development of and recovery from severe heart failure, and (2) to correlate baroreflex sensitivity with haemodynamic and echocardiographic indices and with noradrenaline concentrations. METHODS: Serial assessments were performed on six dogs paced to severe heart failure and then allow to recover for four weeks. R-R interval and systolic blood pressure were monitored during administrations of phenylephrine and nitroprusside and the slope (ms.mm Hg-1) of the resultant R-R interval-systolic blood pressure relationship was used to define baroreflex sensitivity. RESULTS: Control phenylephrine and nitroprusside derived slopes were 27.05(SD 7.88) and 17.1(11.03) ms.mm Hg-1 respectively. After one week of pacing the phenylephrine derived slope was unchanged while the nitroprusside slope tended to be attenuated. In severe heart failure, both slopes were severely attenuated, at 1.88(6.45) ms.mm Hg-1 (phenylephrine) and 4.21(3.28) ms.mm Hg-1 (nitroprusside) (both p < 0.05). Intrinsic heart rate, noradrenaline concentrations and cardiac filling pressures were raised at severe heart failure while cardiac output and systolic blood pressure were significantly reduced. Recovery of baroreflex control of heart rate was evident as early as 48 h following pacing cessation and was maintained after four weeks recovery. Haemodynamics, cardiac output, and noradrenaline also returned to control while cardiac dilatation persisted. Nitroprusside and phenylephrine derived slopes were inversely correlated with intrinsic heart rate and pulmonary arterial/capillary wedge pressures respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Despite marked attenuation of baroreflex control of heart rate at severe heart failure, rapid recovery was seen in response to both hypotensive and hypertensive stimuli. The speed with which recovery occurs suggests that attenuation of baroreflex sensitivity at severe heart failure is likely to be mediated by functional alterations rather than morphological damage.
Grima, EA; Moe, GW; Howard, RJ; Armstrong, PW
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