The baroreflex control of heart rate was investigated on 10 informed human subjects during light halothane anesthesia (0.3-0.5%, inspired concentration). The relationship of systolic pressure (SP) to the succeeding pulse interval (PI) was evaluated on a beat-to-beat basis during the entire course of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) depressor test. The initial slope of SP-PI plot (dPI/dSP) was used as an index of the sensitivity of baroreflex control of heart rate. Following an injection of SNP (4-6 micrograms/kg), dPI/dt was related directly to dPI/dSP, whereas the latter was inversely correlated with dSP/dt. The recovery of PI lagged behind that of SP, and there was a hysteresislike loop on the SP-PI plot. The time lag of PI recovery and the loop of SP-PI plot were markedly decreased by propranolol treatment and significantly increased by atropine. The slopes of SP-PI plot were significantly decreased by atropine but relatively unaffected by propranolol. These results indicate that SNP-induced hypotension in man during halothane anesthesia is associated with a withdrawal of parasympathetic inhibition and an enhancement of sympathetic activity. The autonomic control of heart rate in response to rapid changes in arterial pressure induced by SNP is dominated by parasympathetic influence; the more persistent sympathetic activity only becomes evident when the parasympathetic influence subsides quickly as the arterial pressure stays relatively constant at a new level. The slope of SP-PI plot (dPI/dSP) and the ratio of dPI/dt to dSP/dt during the decreasing pressure phase of SNP test can be used as indices for the sensitivity of baroreflex control of heart rate.
- Copyright © 1982 the American Physiological Society