Objective: To study the changes in neuroautonomic regulation of heart rate and the effects of N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), a competitive inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, on efferent sympathetic cardiac activity and blood pressure during hypovolemic shock. Hypotension during hypovolemic shock may be attributable, in part, to the failure of neuroautonomic regulation of heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, the release of nitric oxide may contribute to hypotension through vasodilation and inhibition of efferent sympathetic activity. Design: Prospective, controlled trial. Setting: Experimental laboratory in a university hospital. Subjects: Seventeen anesthetized adult male New Zealand White rabbits. Interventions: The rabbits were divided into four groups: control (n = 3), control plus L-NAME (n = 5), hypovolemic (n = 4), and hypovolemic plus L-NAME (n = 5). Hypovolemic rabbits were bled of 10% of their circulating blood volume (85 mL/kg) every 10 mins until 30% cumulative hypovolemia was reached. Rabbits received either three doses of saline 1 mL/kg every 10 mins or L-NAME 10 mg/kg in 1 mL/kg of saline solution administered after each hemorrhage for a total of three doses. Changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, mean arterial pressure, plasma catecholamine levels, and heart rate power spectra were recorded every 10 mins during serial hypovolemia and during a 30-min recovery period. Measurements and Main Results: During hypovolemic shock there was a decrease in log low-frequency heart rate power (p = .001) and in systolic (p = .003), diastolic (p < .001), and mean (p < .001) blood pressures compared with control rabbits. Treatment with L-NAME during hypovolemia resulted in increased log low-frequency heart rate power (p = .03) and systolic (p = .01), diastolic (p = .007), and mean (p = .009) blood pressures compared with hypovolemic rabbits who received saline placebo. Conclusions: We found that treatment with L-NAME increased efferent sympathetic cardiac activity and mean arterial pressure during hypovolemic shock compared with control rabbits. We conclude that L-NAME may blunt hypotension during hypovolemic shock by inhibiting nitric oxide synthase and may act to restore neuroautonomic cardiovascular reactivity. Spectral analysis of heart rate variability may allow for insights into the pathophysiology of shock and provide a means of monitoring the neuroautonomic cardiovascular response to therapy.
- Heart rate power spectra
- Hemorrhagic shock
- N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester
- Plasma catecholamines
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine