Effects of Desipramine on Autonomic Control of the Heart

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To assess the effects of desipramine (DMI) on autonomic control of the heart.


Blood pressure, RR interval (the time between successive heart beats), and RR interval variability, a noninvasive measure of autonomic control of the heart, were assessed in 13 subjects younger than 30 years old.


DMI treatment was associated with an increase in blood pressure, a decrease in RR interval, and a decline in low and high frequency RR interval variability.


These preliminary data suggest that, in young people, DMI treatment produces a substantial decrease in parasympathetic input to the heart and an increase in the ratio of sympathetic to parasympathetic input, changes that in certain circumstances have been associated with an increased risk of arrhythmia. In exploring the cardiac effects of the tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) in young people, the impact of TCAs on autonomic input to the heart should be examined.

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