The spectral power of heart rate variability has been shown to be negatively correlated with left ventricular mass (LVM), suggesting the contribution of left ventricular hypertrophy to autonomic dysfunction in essential hypertension. However, a simultaneous assessment of autonomic function and ambulatory blood pressure in relation to LVM has not been carried out. The objective of the present study was to elucidate the synergistic effects of ambulatory blood pressure and autonomic nerve activity on the heart. We enrolled 25 ambulant patients with untreated essential hypertension (9 men and 16 women; mean age 50.6 ± 2.0 years). The ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate variability were simultaneously monitored every 30 min for 24 h. The spectral power of high-frequency (HF: 0.15 to 0.4 Hz) and low-frequency (LF: 0.05 to 0.15 Hz) bands were measured, and the ratio of LF to HF (LF/HF) was calculated. LF/HF and HF were used as indexes of sympathetic and parasympathetic activities, respectively. LVM was determined by echocardiography. Both the average daytime and nighttime systolic ambulatory blood pressures significantly correlated with the LVM index (r = 0.644, p < 0.001; and r = 0.428, p < 0.05; respectively), although there was no such correlation with the clinic blood pressures. In contrast, a single reading of ambulatory systolic blood pressure measured when LF/HF reached a maximum value was significantly correlated with the LVM index independently of age and sex (partial r = 0.484, p < 0.05). These results suggest that the ambulatory systolic blood pressure during increases in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system is able to infer LVM in essential hypertension.
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