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Low Frequency Oscillations of Heart Rate Variability and Central Volume

      Background. The hypothesis that central volume plays a key role in the source of low frequency (LF) oscillations of heart rate variability (HRV) was tested in a population of end stage renal disease patients undergoing conventional hemodialysis (HD) treatment, and thus subject to large fluid shifts and sympathetic activation. Materials and Methods. Fluid overload (FO) in 58 chronic HD patients was assessed by whole body bioimpedance measurements before the midweek HD session. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) was measured using 24-hour Holter electrocardiogram recordings starting before the same HD treatment. Time domain and frequency domain analyses were performed on HRV signals. Patients were retrospectively classified in three groups according to tertiles of FO normalized to the extracellular water (FO/ECW%). These groups were also compared after stratification by diabetes mellitus. Results. Patients with the low to medium hydration status before the treatment showed a significant increase in LF power during last 30 min of HD compared to dialysis begin, while no significant change in LF power was seen in the third group [Δ = BL-last30'HD values of LF(ms2) 1st tertile: 20.4 (2.3,184.1), 2nd tertile: 85.4(0.8, 237.8) 3rd tertile: 4.5 (-11.7, 101.9)]. Conclusion. Several mechanisms can generate LF oscillations in the cardiovascular system, including baroreflex feedback loops and central oscillators. However, the current results emphasize the role played by the central volume in determining the power of LF oscillations.
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