Sympathetic rhythmicity in cardiac transplant recipients

Philippe Van De Borne, Nicola Montano, Krzysztof Narkiewicz, Jean P. Degaute, Ron Oren, Massimo Pagani, Virend K. Somers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background - Variability of R-R interval and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) occurs predominantly at a low frequency (LF, ±0.1 Hz) and a high frequency (HF, ±0.25 Hz) in normal humans. Increased sympathetic drive in normal humans is associated with an increased LF component of the R-R interval and MSNA. Patients with severe heart failure have high sympathetic activity but decreased or absent LF power of both R-R and MSNA. We tested the hypothesis that this dysfunction in autonomic modulation in heart failure can be reversed by heart transplantation. Methods and Results - We performed spectral analysis of resting MSNA, R-R interval, and respiration in 9 patients with heart transplants, 9 chronic heart failure patients, and 9 normal control subjects, all closely matched for age, sex, and body mass index. MSNA (bursts per minute) was higher in patients with heart transplants (74±3) than either patients with heart failure (56±6) or normal subjects (40±4) (P<0.001). LF variability in the R-R interval was reduced in both heart transplant recipients and heart failure patients compared with the control subjects (P<0.01). The LF variability in MSNA was also nearly absent in the heart failure patients (P<0.01). However, the LF and HF oscillations in MSNA in patients with heart transplants were comparable to those evident in the control subjects. Conclusions - Cardiac transplantation does not reduce MSNA. However, LF oscillations in sympathetic activity are restored after transplantation such that the MSNA oscillatory profile is similar to that observed in normal subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1606-1610
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 30 1999


  • Heart failure
  • Nervous system
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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