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Is cardiac autonomic modulation during upper limb isometric contraction and Valsalva maneuver impaired in COPD patients?

Authors Goulart CL, Cabiddu R, Schneiders PB, Antunes San Martin E, Trimer R, Borghi-Silva A, da Silva ALG

Received 16 December 2016

Accepted for publication 7 February 2017

Published 13 March 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 849—857


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Cássia da Luz Goulart,1 Ramona Cabiddu,2 Paloma de Borba Schneiders,1 Elisabete Antunes San Martin,1 Renata Trimer,3 Audrey Borghi-Silva,2 Andréa Lúcia Gonçalves da Silva4,5

1Course of Physiotherapy, University of Santa Cruz do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; 2Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy Laboratory, Nucleus of Research in Physical Exercise, Federal University of São Carlos, São Carlos, Brazil; 3Department of Physiotherapy, Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, AM, Brazil; 4Course of Physiotherapy, Department of Health and Physical Education, University of Santa Cruz do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; 5Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, Santa Cruz Hospital, Santa Cruz do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Purpose: To evaluate the heart rate variability (HRV) indices and heart rate (HR) responses during isometric contraction (IC) and Valsalva maneuver (VM) in COPD patients.
Methods: Twenty-two stable moderate to severe COPD patients were evaluated. R-R intervals were recorded (monitor Polar® S810i) during dominant upper limb IC (2 minutes). Stable signals were analyzed by Kubios HRV® software. Indices of HRV were computed in the time domain (mean HR; square root of the mean squared differences of successive RR intervals [RMSSD] and HRV triangular index [RR tri index]) and in the frequency domain (high frequency [HF]; low frequency [LF] and LF/HF ratio). The HR responses were evaluated at rest, at the peak and at the nadir of the VM (15 seconds). The Valsalva index was also calculated.
Results: During IC: time domain indices (mean HR increased [P=0.001], RMSSD, and RR tri index decreased [P=0.005 and P=0.005, respectively]); frequency domain indices (LF increased [P=0.033] and HF decreased [P=0.002]); associations were found between forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) vs RMSSD (P=0.04; r=–0.55), FEV1 vs HR (P=0.04; r=–0.48), forced vital capacity (FVC) vs RMSSD (P=0.05; r=–0.62), maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) vs HF (P=0.02; r=0.68). FEV1 and FVC justified 30% of mean HR. During VM: HR increased (P=0.01); the nadir showed normal bradycardic response; the Valsalva index was =0.7.
Conclusion: COPD patients responded properly to the upper limb IC and to the VM; however, HR recovery during VM was impaired in these patients. The severity of the disease and MIP were associated with increased parasympathetic modulation and higher chronotropic response.

heart rate, autonomic nervous system, COPD, isometric contraction, Valsalva maneuver

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