Background and Objectives: Blood pressure variability (BPV), heart rate variability (HRV) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) as measures of autonomic function might provide prognostic information in ischemic stroke. We aimed to study noninvasive beat-to-beat assessment of BPV, HRV and BRS in the acute phase of ischemic stroke to determine whether any of them predicted clinical outcome.
Methods & Patients: Consecutive ischemic stroke patients within 7 days of symptom onset were enrolled. The frequency components of BPV and HRV by means of power spectral analysis [very low frequency (VLF; < 0.04 Hz); low frequency (LF; 0.04-0.15 Hz); high frequency (HF; 0.15-0.40 Hz); power spectral density (PSD; <0.40 Hz) and LF/HF ratio] were calculated from 10-minute recordings of beat-to-beat blood pressure and heart rate monitoring. The baroreflex slope and baroreflex effectiveness index (BEI) were determined using the sequence method for BRS. Clinical outcome was assessed at 3 months after stroke onset as good or poor by modified Rankin Scale (mRS) (good outcome, mRS ≤ 2).
Results: 82 patients were recruited (mean age, 64.6 ± 9.9 years; 89.3% males). Univariate analysis showed that there were significant differences in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) at recruitment, VLF diastolic BPV, VLF, HF and PSD systolic BPV, and down ramp BEI between the good and poor outcome groups (all P < 0.05). After adjusting for NIHSS, multivariate logistic regression showed that only HF systolic BPV (OR 1.320; 95% CI, 1.050-1.659; P=0.017) and down BEI (OR 0.950; 95% CI, 0.912-0.990; P=0.014) were independently correlated with poor functional outcome.
Conclusions: Beat-to beat highly variable systolic blood pressure and impaired BRS as evaluated by decreased down BEI are associated with an unfavorable functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke. Important prognostic information can be readily obtained from a short period of noninvasive hemodynamics monitoring in the acute stroke patient.