Evidence of autonomic dysregulation in otherwise healthy cancer caregivers: A possible link with health hazard

Daniela Lucini, Valentina Cannone, Mara Malacarne, Daniela Bruno, Silvia Beltrami, Paolo Pizzinelli, Elena Piazza, Gaetana Di Fede, Massimo Pagani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Caregiving, an important component of cancer patient treatment, may set forth a cascade of stress responses such as sympatho-adrenal activation, immuno-humoral changes and an unhealthy lifestyle, which could be hazardous to caregivers' health. In this observational study, we addressed whether autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulation and perception of stress would be altered in a group of 58 health cancer caregivers as compared to 60 controls. We employed non invasive autoregressive spectral analysis of cardiovascular variabilities and ad hoc questionnaires. Caregivers show, in addition to signs of psychological involvement, a clear autonomic imbalance, suggestive of sympathetic predominance at rest and of a reduction of vagal cardiac regulation (overall gain of baroreflex -index α- was respectively of 17.5 ± 1.5 versus 25.1 ± 1.8 msec/mmHg, p<<0.02). These data suggest possible preventive strategies, based on tailored treatments aiming at a betterment of individual autonomic profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2437-2443
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Volume44
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

Keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Baroreceptor
  • Cancer
  • Caregiving
  • Risk factors
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Lucini, D., Cannone, V., Malacarne, M., Bruno, D., Beltrami, S., Pizzinelli, P., Piazza, E., Fede, G. D., & Pagani, M. (2008). Evidence of autonomic dysregulation in otherwise healthy cancer caregivers: A possible link with health hazard. European Journal of Cancer, 44(16), 2437-2443. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2008.08.006