The development of autonomic cardiovascular control is altered by preterm birth

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OBJECTIVES: Autonomic dysfunction, either sympathetic or parasympathetic, may explain the increased incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) among preterm infants, as well as their subsequent heightened risk of hypertension in adulthood. As little is known about the development of autonomic function in preterm infants, we contrasted autonomic cardiovascular control across the first 6months after term-corrected age (CA) in preterm and term infants. STUDY DESIGN: Preterm (n=25) and age matched term infants (n=31) were studied at 2-4weeks, 2-3months and 5-6months CA using daytime polysomnography. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured during quiet (QS) and active (AS) sleep. Autonomic control was assessed using spectral indices of blood pressure and heart rate variability (BPV and HRV) in ranges of low frequency (LF, reflecting sympathetic+parasympathetic activity), high frequency (HF, respiratory-mediated changes+parasympathetic activity), and LF/HF ratio (sympatho-vagal balance). RESULTS: In preterm infants, HF HRV increased, LF/HF HRV decreased and LF BPV decreased with age (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145 - 152
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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