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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common complication in heart failure (HF) patients. However, it remains unclear whether irregular ventricular response patterns induced by AF increase sympathetic nerve activity. We measured resting multi- and single-unit muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) in 21 age-matched HF patients with chronic AF (n= 11) rhythm or sinus rhythm (SR, n= 10). The multi-unit MSNA, which was expressed as total activity, was similar between HF + AF patients and HF + SR patients. However, the single-unit MSNA in HF + AF patients was significantly greater than that in HF + SR patients (62 ± 9 spikes min -1vs. 42 ± 4 spikes min -1, P < 0.05). Moreover, the incidence of multiple firing of single-unit MSNA within a given burst was augmented in HF + AF patients as compared with HF + SR patients (48 ± 8%vs. 26 ± 3%, P < 0.01). A significant negative relationship was observed between the reduced diastolic pressure induced by a prolonged cardiac interval in AF subjects and single-unit MSNA frequency within one cardiac interval in each HF + AF subject. The firing characteristics of single-unit MSNA were different between HF patients with AF and HF patients with SR; particularly, those with a prolonged long RR interval showed multiple firings of single-unit MSNA. These findings suggest that AF per se leads to the instantaneous augmentation of single-unit MSNA induced by decreased diastolic pressure, which might partially contribute to disease progression in HF patients. © 2012 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2012 The Physiological Society.
- Journal of Physiology
Journal of Physiology 590(3), 509-518, 2012-02-00
The Physiological Society / Wiley-Blackwell