Decreased nighttime heart rate variability and progression of white matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin. A prospective study in community-dwelling older adults

Oscar H. Del Brutto, Robertino M. Mera, Aldo F. Costa, Denisse A. Rumbea, Bettsy Y. Recalde, Ernesto Peñaherrera, Victor J. Del Brutto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Evidence on the role of autonomic dysfunction on white matter hyperintensities (WMH) progression is limited. This study aims to assess the impact of a low nighttime heart rate variability (HRV) on WMH progression in community-dwelling older adults. Materials and methods: Following a prospective longitudinal study design, all individuals aged ≥60 years enrolled in the Atahualpa Project Cohort from 2012 to 2019 were invited to receive baseline HRV determinations through 24-h Holter monitoring, together with clinical interviews and brain MRIs. These individuals were periodically followed by means of annual door-to-door surveys, and those who also received brain MRIs at the end of the study (May 2021) were included in the analysis. Poisson regression models, adjusted for relevant confounders, were fitted to assess the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of WMH progression according to nighttime standard deviation of normal-to-normal R-R intervals (SDNN). Results: This study included 254 individuals aged ≥60 years (mean age: 65.4 ± 5.9 years; 55% women). The mean nighttime SDNN was 116.8 ± 36.3 ms. Follow-up MRIs showed WMH progression in 103 (41%) individuals after a median follow-up of 6.5 years. In unadjusted analyses, nighttime SDNN was lower among participants who developed WMH progression than in those who did not (p < 0.001). A Poisson regression model, adjusted for relevant covariates, disclosed a significantly inverse association between nighttime SDNN and WMH progression (IRR: 0.99; 95% C.I.: 0.98–0.99; p = 0.014). Conclusions: Study results show an inverse association between decreased nighttime SDNN and WMH progression, and provide support for the role of sympathetic overactivity in this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106479
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Heart rate variability
  • Progression
  • Prospective cohort study
  • Sympathetic activity
  • White matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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