The changes in systolic time intervals (STI) following reduction of adrenergic activity was used to validate supine resting plasma catecholamines (CATs) as an index of sympathetic activity. Blockade of sympathetic activity was achieved by two means in two groups: propranolol (10 mg i.v.) and clonidine (0.3 mg p.o.). The diminished sympathetic effect was evidenced by slowing (p < 0.01) of heart rate with both drugs and the reduction (p < 0.01) of blood pressure with clonidine. There was no correlation in our study between resting plasma CATs (norepinephrine alone or total), and changes in heart rate and preejection period (PEP). Moreover, to avoid changes in PEP that could be related to differences in blood pressure levels (clonidine-reduced blood pressure while propranolol did not), the changes in PEP were corrected for the change of mean arterial pressure (MAP) in the same patients (ΔPEP/ΔMAP and %ΔPEP/%ΔMAP). No correlation could be found, still, between resting supine plasma CATs and these ratios. The difficulty in demonstrating a correlation between resting plasma CATs and the immediate cardiac response to adrenolytic agents can be explained by the number of factors influencing plasma levels. Circulating plasma CATs represent the spillover from adrenergic nerve endings, and, therefore, their level would depend on several factors including sympathetic nervous system activity, rate of reuptake, and rate of degradation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine