Baroreflex function in elderly hypertensives.
Baroreflex function was assessed in elderly hypertensive patients and compared with that observed in young hypertensives and young normotensives. Mean arterial pressure was reduced by 20% using intravenous nitroprusside infusion in 10 elderly hypertensive patients (older than 65 years and diastolic pressures over 95 mm Hg), in 10 young hypertensives (under 60 years and diastolic pressures over 95 mm Hg), and in seven young normotensive subjects (under 60 years and diastolic pressures under 95 mm Hg). Elderly subjects demonstrated greater sensitivity (p less than 0.005) and greater variability of response (p less than 0.025) to nitroprusside than either young group. There was no significant difference between the slight heart rate increases observed in the supine position in the three groups. However, in the erect position, heart rate increases were significantly less in the elderly hypertensive group than in the young hypertensive group (p less than 0.01) or the young normotensive group (p less than 0.005). Furthermore, the slope of the regression line relating change in blood pressure with change in R-R interval was less for the elderly patients than for the young hypertensives (p less than 0.05) or the young normotensives (p less than 0.025). We conclude that the heart rate component of the baroreflex is impaired in elderly hypertensives, and anticipate that the clinical response to antihypertensive drugs will be altered.
- Copyright © 1983 by American Heart Association