The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of acute ischemic stroke on the autonomic cardiovascular system during sleep, and to correlate autonomic activity with the clinical status of patients. Ten patients with ischemic stroke in the middle cerebral artery were studied by means of an all-night polysomnographic recording within the 1st week of the onset of symptoms and at the 3-week follow-up examination. Power spectrum analysis of the heart rate variability was performed using an autoregressive algorithm in 180 consecutive electrocardiographic RR intervals. Spectral power was calculated in 3 main frequency bands: high frequency (HF), 0.15–0.4 Hz; low frequency (LF), 0.04–0.15 Hz; very low frequency (VLF), ! 0.04 Hz. The data were compared with those of 10 age-matched controls. A significant increase in VLF (p ! 0.0005) and a decrease in HF (p < 0.0002) components were found in ischemic stroke patients. The sympathetic-parasympathetic balance (VLF + LF/HF) was higher in patients than controls (p < 0.005). However, these components changed significantly during sleep, revealing a physiological pattern. These power spectral data were still present at the 3-week follow-up. The 4 patients who developed cardiac arrhythmias showed higher sympathetic-parasympathetic balance than patients without arrhythmias (p < 0.05). These data suggest a sympathetic predominance in patients with acute ischemic stroke during sleep. However, the flexible and dynamic properties of the autonomic nervous system are preserved. Cardiac arrhythmias following stroke may be related to the degree of sympathetic predominance.
Autonomic nervous activity during sleep in middle cerebral artery infarction / Giubilei, Franco; Strano, Stefano; Stefano, Lino; Giovanni, Calcagnini; Paolo, Tisei; Fiorelli, Marco; Cinzia, Ferretti; Sergio, Cerutti; Cesare, Fieschi. - In: CEREBROVASCULAR DISEASES. - ISSN 1015-9770. - STAMPA. - 8:2(1998), pp. 118-123. [10.1159/000015829]