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Auton Neurosci. 2011 Apr 26;161(1-2):75-80. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Relations between carotid artery distensibility and heart rate variability The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study.

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  • 1Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland. tuomas.koskinen@utu.fi

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Reduction in carotid artery wall elasticity may interfere with baroreceptor function that could lead to low vagal tone. We studied at the population level the relations between carotid-artery-distensibility (Cdist) and vagal modulation of heart rate.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Cdist was assessed with ultrasonic measurements of changes in carotid artery diameter during cardiac-cycle. Vagal tone was estimated with the heart rate variability (HRV) in 1872 healthy 24-39year-old subjects. Cdist was significantly related with all HRV-components (always P<0.0001). After adjustments with sex, age and heart rate, we found statistically significant correlation between Cdist and the high-frequency component (HF, estimate of vagal-tone) of HRV (P<0.05). An inverse association between the number of cardiovascular risk-factors and vagal-tone was seen in subjects with less elastic arteries, but not in subjects with more elastic arteries (P for interaction=0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

These data support the hypothesis that reduction in carotid artery wall elastic properties may lead to low vagal tone. Furthermore, carotid distensibility seemed to modify the relation between risk-factors and HRV. Increased cardiovascular risk associated with low vagal tone may partly be mediated via changes in carotid artery elastic properties.

PMID:
21292566
DOI:
10.1016/j.autneu.2011.01.002
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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