Evaluation of neurocardiac signals in pediatric patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome through power spectral analysis of heart rate variability
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OBJECTIVE: To investigate autonomic regulation of neurocardiac signals in pediatric patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). METHODS: Fourteen patients with CVS, ages 3 to 16 years, were screened to eliminate any underlying cause for their symptoms, although 11 of the 14 patients had a history of migraine in the immediate family. Analysis of autonomic regulation was accomplished through power spectral analysis of the beat-to-beat heart rate variability signal. Data from affected patients were compared with data from 38 control subjects, ages 5 to 16 years, by a one-way analysis of variance. A measure of sympathovagal balance was obtained by computing a ratio of power in the low-frequency band (0. 02-0.15 Hz) to the power in the high-frequency band (0.15-0.4 Hz). RESULTS: Pediatric patients with CVS have an elevated sympathetic modulation of the sinus node as represented by the low frequency/high frequency ratio (1.45 +/- 0.42 in patients vs 0.89 +/- 0.29 in healthy control subjects, P <.001). CONCLUSIONS: The patients with CVS we studied have an autonomic imbalance with enhanced sympathetic and diminished parasympathetic vagal modulation of the heart.
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