Comparison of techniques for measuring baroreflex sensitivity in man

Circulation
D S GoldsteinH R Keiser

Abstract

Because discrepancies about baroreflex sensitivity in essential hypertension may have resulted from the use of different measurement techniques, we assessed the extent to which the results of different techniques agree in the same subjects. The eight techniques studied were the change in RR interval per unit change in systolic pressure during the Valsalva maneuver, upon release of the Valsalva maneuver, after injection of phenylephrine and after injection of nitroglycerin; the changes in RR interval and in systolic pressure per mm Hg externally applied neck suction; and the changes in RR interval and systolic pressure per mm Hg externally applied neck pressure. The average intercorrelation among these measures in 30 subjects was statistically significant (r = 0.36, p less than 0.01), but suggests that variance in one measure accounted for an average of about 13% of the variance in other measures. Standard deviations among subjects were often as large as the mean, indicating important interindividual variability as well. These findings demonstrate that baroreflex sensitivity varies widely among subjects and that different techniques for measuring baroreflex sensitivity probably measure different aspects of baroreflex function.

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