Effect of continuous enhanced vagal tone on atrioventricular nodal and sinoatrial nodal function in humans

Circulation Research
R L PageE N Prystowsky


A constant intravenous infusion of phenylephrine (0.74 +/- 0.41 micrograms/kg/min) was given to 10 patients to cause a continuous augmentation in reflex vagal tone. After the infusion, the diastolic blood pressure increased from 76 +/- 7 to 89 +/- 11 mm Hg (p less than 0.01). The sinus cycle length and atrial-His (AH) interval were measured, and incremental atrial pacing was performed before and during phenylephrine infusion until atrioventricular (AV) nodal block was achieved. For each patient, the AV nodal function curve (i.e., the AH interval plotted as a function of the atrial pacing cycle length) was compared during both the control state and phenylephrine infusion; the AH intervals during each condition at chosen short (AHS) and long (AHL) cycle lengths were compared. The sinus cycle length increased during phenylephrine infusion from 941 +/- 294 to 1,115 +/- 347 msec (p = 0.013). The AH interval during sinus rhythm was not significantly prolonged (77 versus 82 msec, p = NS). The shortest atrial pacing cycle length yielding 1:1 AV nodal conduction increased during phenylephrine infusion from 412 +/- 120 to 575 +/- 211 msec (p less than 0.01). Of note, the degree of sinus cycle length prolongation did not correlate with th...Continue Reading


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