The present study examined whether alterations in the cardiac baroreceptor reflex in hypertension may be a function of constitutional differences associated with gender and age. These hypotheses were tested using a cross-sectional design that compared 20 normotensive and 21 hypertensive men and women of varying age for differences in baroreceptor reflex sensitivity and response latency for heart rate, obtained using a modified bolus phenylephrine (Oxford) method. Relative to their respective normotensive controls, baroreceptor reflex sensitivity was reduced in hypertensive men, but not in hypertensive women. Among normotensive subjects, men had greater baroreceptor reflex sensitivity than women. Independent from the effects associated with differences in blood pressure, age was not a significant predictor of reduction in baroreceptor reflex sensitivity. However, a combination of high blood pressure and older age was associated with a significant increase in baroreceptor reflex response time. In summary, gender and aging interacted with hypertension to alter two different aspects of the baroreceptor reflex. These results provide a preliminary indication that a decline in arterial baroreflex sensitivity may be more specific to hypertension in men than in women. Prolongation in baroreflex response latency in older hypertensive subjects also suggested that aging and hypertension may have a synergistic effect on cardiac parasympathetic function.
- Baroreceptor reflex latency
- Baroreceptor reflex sensitivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine