Evaluation of autonomic nervous system function with spectral analysis of heart rate variability in a case of tetanus

Tomohide Goto, Hiroyuki Fukushima, Goro Sasaki, Nobutake Matsuo, Takao Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The autonomic nervous system is affected in a wide variety of neurological disorders. Its dysfunction may play an important role in the clinical course and may result in serious complications, such as cardiac arrest. We report a case of tetanus who presented with severe autonomic nervous system dysfunction which was detected by spectral analysis of heart rate variability monitored over 24 h. This is a semi-quantitative method for evaluation of the status of the autonomic nervous system. In the present case, the analysis revealed profoundly decreased activity of both sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system modulation of cardiac rhythm. The parasympathetic nervous system activity was more severely impaired than that of the sympathetic nervous system. The relative predominance of the sympathetic nervous system in the present case may have resulted in unopposed sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity manifested in this patient by tachycardia and excessive sweating. We further infer that the documented diminished buffering capacity of the autonomic nervous system may have lead to a sudden cardiac arrest in our case. Thus, spectral analysis of heart rate variability is a non-invasive and sensitive method for evaluating the status of the autonomic nervous system of critically ill patients in the hospital setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-795
Number of pages5
JournalBrain and Development
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Dec 11

Keywords

  • Autonomic complications
  • Heart rate variability
  • Spectral analysis
  • Tetanus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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