Autonomic Cardiac Regulation During Spontaneous, Nocturnal Hypoglycemia in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes
- Minna L. Koivikko, MD 1⇓,
- Mikko P. Tulppo, PHD3,
- Antti M. Kiviniemi, PHD3,
- Mika A. Kallio, MD2,
- Juha S. Perkiömäki, MD1,
- Pasi I. Salmela, MD1,
- K.E. Juhani Airaksinen, MD4 and
- Heikki V. Huikuri, MD 1
- 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
- 2Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
- 3Department of Exercise and Medical Physiology, Verve Research, Oulu, Finland
- 4Department of Internal Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
- Corresponding author: Minna L. Koivikko, .
OBJECTIVE Experimental clamp studies have suggested that hypoglycemia evokes a reduction of cardiac vagal control in patients with type 1 diabetes. However, there are limited data on the influence of spontaneous nocturnal hypoglycemia on cardiac autonomic regulation.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Adults with type 1 diabetes (n = 37) underwent continuous glucose monitoring via a subcutaneous sensor as well as recording of R-R interval or electrocardiogram for 3 nights. Heart rate (HR) variability was analyzed during periods of hypoglycemia (glucose<3.5 mmol/L) (minimum length of 20 min) and a control nonhypoglycemic period (glucose >3.9 mmol/L) of equal duration and at the same time of night.
RESULTS The duration of hypoglycemic and control episodes (n = 18) ranged from 20 to 190 min (mean 71 min). HR (62 ± 7 vs. 63 ± 9 beats per min; P = 0.30) or the high-frequency component of HR power spectrum (2,002 ± 1,965 vs. 1,336 ± 1,506 ms2; P = 0.26) did not change during hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia resulted in a significant decrease in the low-frequency component of HR variability (2,134 ± 1,635 vs. 1,169 ± 1,029 ms2, respectively; P = 0.006). The decline in the glucose concentration displayed a significant positive correlation with the decrease of the low-frequency component of HR variability (r = 0.48; P = 0.04). The latter was closely related to an increase in muscle sympathetic nerve activity recorded in 10 subjects during controlled sympathetic activation.
CONCLUSIONS Spontaneous nocturnal hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes results in a reduction of the low-frequency component of HR, which is best explained by excessive sympathetic activation without a concomitant withdrawal of vagal outflow.
- Received October 31, 2011.
- Accepted March 1, 2012.
- © 2012 by the American Diabetes Association.
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