Background - Despite similar degrees of left ventricular dysfunction and similar tachycardia or pacing rate, blood pressure (BP) response and symptoms vary greatly among patients. Sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) increases during sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT), and the magnitude of this sympathoexcitatory response appears to contribute to the net hemodynamic outcome. We hypothesize that the magnitude of sympathoexcitation and thus arterial baroreflex gain is an important determinant of the hemodynamic outcome of VT. Methods and Results - We evaluated the relation between arterial baroreflex sympathetic gain and BP recovery during rapid ventricular pacing (VP) in patients referred for electrophysiological study. Efferent postganglionic muscle SNA, BP, and central venous pressure (CVP) were measured in 14 patients during nitroprusside infusion and during VP at 150 (n= 12) or 120 (n=2) bpm. Arterial baroreflex gain was defined as the slope of the relationship of change in SNA to change in diastolic BP during nitroprusside infusion. Recovery of mean arterial pressure (MAP) during VP was measured as the increase in MAP from the nadir at the onset of pacing to the steady-state value during sustained VP. Arterial baroreflex gain correlated positively with recovery of MAP (r=0.57, P=0.034). No significant correlation between ejection fraction and baroreflex gain (r=0.48, P=0.08) or BP recovery (r=0.41, P=0.15) was found. When patients were separated into high versus low baroreflex gain, the recovery of MAP during simulated VT was significantly greater in patients with high gain. Conclusions - These data strongly suggest that arterial baroreflex gain contributes significantly to hemodynamic stability during simulated VT. Knowledge of baroreflex gain in individual patients may help the clinician tailor therapy directed toward sustained VT.
- Nervous system, autonomic