Changes in heart rate variability may reflect sympatholysis during spinal anaethesia

R. Hanss, H. Ohnesorge, M. Kaufmann, R. Gaupp, Thomas Ledowski, M. Steinfath, J. Scholz, B. Bein

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    35 Citations (Scopus)


    To investigate if changes in low-to-high frequency ratio (LF/HF), low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) heart rate variability reflect autonomic regulation during spinal anaesthesia (SA) in pregnant women scheduled for elective Caesarean section.Methods:  Prospective clinical trial. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) and heart rate variability were analysed at baseline, 5 min after SA and 15 min after SA. Patients were assigned by baseline LF/HF. Group LF/HF <2.5 (n= 52) was compared to group LF/HF > 2.5 (n= 48). Non-parametric tests for statistical analysis.Results:  Group LF/HF > 2.5 showed a significant decrease in LF/HF and LF as well as an increase in HF during SA (median, range): baseline LF/HF [4.0 (3.2/4.8)] decreased to 2.3 (1.3/3.4) at event 15 min after SA (P <0.001). Baseline LF = 59(43/71)% decreased to 40 (27/55)% at event 15 min after SA (P <0.05). Baseline HF = 15(13/22)% increased to 26(15/41)% at event 15 min after SA (P <0.05). In contrast, group LF/HF <2.5 demonstrated only moderate changes in LF/HF, LF and HF during SA. SBP decreased significantly in group LF/HF > 2.5 (median and range) lowest SBP group LF/HF > 2.5: 80 (50/127 mmHg vs. group LF/HF <2.5: 109 (104/142) mmHg, P <0.001. Decrease of SBP before and after SA was correlated with a decrease in LF/HF, LF, and HF, respectively: LF/HF – SBP: r= 0.30, r2= 0.09, P <0.001; LF – SBP: r= 0.25, r2= 0.06, P <0.05, HF, NS.Conclusions:  Changes in heart rate variability parameters in the course of SA may reflect a decrease in sympathetic activity and relative increase in parasympathetic activity as a result of the block. In the course of SA, the more pronounced the changes in heart rate variability were the more distinct the hypotension.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1297-1304
    JournalACTA Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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