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Resetting of the cardiopulmonary baroreflex 10 years after surgical repair of coarctation of the aorta


OBJECTIVE To characterise cardiopulmonary baroreflex responses and examine the effects of a 45 minute cycling bout late after successful repair of coarctation of the aorta.

SUBJECTS 10 young adults (mean (SEM) age 18.1 (2.6 years)) operated on for coarctation of the aorta 12.7 (3.5) years earlier, and 10 healthy controls.

DESIGN Forearm blood flow (venous occlusion plethysmography) and vascular resistance, left ventricular internal diastolic diameter, and central venous pressure estimated from an antecubital vein were measured in the supine position at baseline and during five minute applications of lower body negative pressure (LBNP) at −15 mm Hg (LBNP−15) and −40 mm Hg (LBNP−40). Venous samples were obtained at baseline and during LBNP−40 for noradrenaline (norepinephrine), adrenaline (epinephrine), renin activity, and aldosterone. The tests were repeated after 45 minutes of moderate exercise.

RESULTS Baseline heart rate (78 (9)v 64 (6) beats/min), echocardiographic cardiac output (6.9 (1.1) v 5.0 (0.2) l/min), shortening fraction (41.7 (1.8)% v 33.3 (1.3)%), and forearm blood flow (3.4 (0.4) v2.3 (0.3) ml/100 g/min) were higher in the coarctation group than in the controls (p < 0.05). Changes in forearm blood flow and forearm vascular resistance from baseline to LBNP−40 were similar in both groups, but the relation between forearm vascular resistance and estimated central venous pressure or left ventricular internal diastolic diameter was shifted downward in the coarctation group. Plasma adrenaline was increased in the coarctation group (baseline: 3.2 (0.6) v 2.4 (0.3) pmol/l in controls; LBNP−40: 687 (151) v 332 (42) pmol/l) (p < 0.05). Both groups showed a similar downward displacement of forearm vascular resistance (p < 0.05) after exercise.

CONCLUSIONS There appears to be resetting of the cardiopulmonary baroreflex to a lower forearm vascular resistance in young adults operated on for coarctation of the aorta, associated with hyperdynamic left ventricular function. Raised circulating adrenaline could contribute to the lower forearm vascular resistance.

  • coarctation of aorta
  • cardiopulmonary baroreflex
  • forearm vascular resistance
  • circulating catecholamines

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