Autonomic influence on atrial fibrillatory process: Head-up and head-down tilting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Changes in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) tone are present before, during, and after episodes of atrial fibrillation (AF). Atrial fibrillatory rate (AFR, the inverse of the atrial cycle length) has been used as a surrogate marker for local refractoriness and is a key characteristic of the fibrillatory process in patients with AF. Aim of this study is to assess changes in AFR, as an effect of autonomic balance change. Methods: Forty patients undergoing cardiac cardioversion for symptomatic persistent AF were included in the study. Surface ECG was recorded during rest, head-down (HDT, -30°), and head-up tilt (HUT, +60°). A median value of AFR was computed in each phase of the protocol. Results: AFR decreased during HDT compared to the baseline (B) condition in all patients but three (median AFR_B = 391 fpm vs. AFR_HDT = 377 fpm, p < .0001). HUT increased AFR, making it significantly higher than HDT and baseline conditions (median AFR_HUT = 396 fpm, p < .0001 vs. B and HDT). Heart rate (HR) increased during HUT, but had a heterogeneous behavior in the population during HDT: about one third of the patients had an HR lower during HDT than during baseline, whereas the remaining two third had an increase in HR during HDT. Conclusions: Dominant sympathetic/vagal tone during HUT/HDT significantly affects AFR, increasing/decreasing in respect to baseline. It may be worth exploring the possibility that patients with AF of shorter duration can convert to sinus rhythm during HDT.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Central Hospital Kristianstad
  • Polytechnic University of Milan
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation, Atrial fibrillatory rate, Autonomic nervous system, Head-down tilt, Head-up tilt
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12405
JournalAnnals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology
Volume22
Issue number2
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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