Introduction: Cardiovascular system presents cortical modulation. Post-stroke outcome can be highly influenced by autonomic nervous system disruption. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis is a simple non-invasive method to assess sympatho-vagal balance. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate cardiac autonomic activity in ischemic stroke patients and to asses HRV nonlinear parameters beside linear ones. Methods: We analyzed HRV parameters in 15 right and 15 left middle cerebral artery ischemic stroke patients, in rest condition and during challenge (standing and deep breathing). Data were compared with 15 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Results: There was an asymmetric response after autonomic stimulation tests depending on the cortical lateralization in ischemic stroke patients. In resting state, left hemisphere stroke patients presented enhanced parasympathetic control of the heart rate (higher values for RMSSD, pNN50 and HF in normalized units). Right hemisphere ischemic stroke patients displayed a reduced cardiac parasympathetic modulation during deep breathing test. Beside time and frequency domain, using short-term ECG monitoring, cardiac parasympathetic modulation can also be assessed by nonlinear parameter SD1, that presented strong positive correlation with time and frequency domain parameters RMSSD, pNN50, HFnu, while DFA α1 index presented negative correlation with the same indices and positive correlation with the LFnu and LF/HF ratio, indicating a positive association with the sympatho-vagal balance. Conclusions: Cardiac monitoring in clinical routine using HRV analysis in order to identify autonomic imbalance may highlight cardiac dysfunctions, thus helping preventing potential cardiovascular complications, especially in right hemisphere ischemic stroke patients with sympathetic hyperactivation.
Constantinescu, V., Matei, D., Costache, V., Cuciureanu, D., & Arsenescu-Georgescu, C. (2018). Linear and nonlinear parameters of heart rate variability in ischemic stroke patients. Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska, 52(2), 194–206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pjnns.2017.10.002