Investigating Feed-Forward Neural Regulation of Circulation From Analysis of Spontaneous Arterial Pressure and Heart Rate Fluctuations

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Analysis of spontaneous fluctuations in systolic arterial pressure (SAP) and pulse interval (PI) reveals the occurrence of sequences of consecutive beats characterized by SAP and PI changing in the same (+PI/+SAP and -PI/-SAP) or opposite (-PI/+SAP and +PI/-SAP) direction. Although the former reflects baroreflex regulatory mechanisms, the physiological meaning of -PI/+SAP and +PI/-SAP is unclear. We tested the hypothesis that -PI/+SAP and +PI/-SAP "nonbaroreflex" sequences represent a phenomenon modulated by the autonomic nervous system reflecting a feed-forward mechanism of cardiovascular regulation.


These results suggest that nonbaroreflex sequences represent the expression of an integrated, neurally mediated, feed-forward type of short-term cardiovascular regulation able to interact dynamically with the feedback mechanisms of baroreflex origin in the control of heart period. (Circulation. 1999;99:1760-1766.)

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