• neurocirculatory failure;
  • baroreceptor reflex;
  • noninvasive blood pressure monitoring;
  • premature ventricular contraction;
  • Parkinson's disease


Extrasystoles occur in normal subjects but are significant more frequently (16.25% vs. 55%; χ2 = 19.3; P < 0.001) seen in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. The extrasystolic decreases in stroke volume and systolic pressure activate sympathetic vasomotor innervation and lead to a blood pressure increase for a few heartbeats. The purpose of this study was to prove whether the short time analysis of this blood pressure regulation allows the assessment of sympathetic neurocirculatory function. Records of noninvasive blood pressure monitoring were reviewed from 40 PD patients and 80 controls. A battery of cardiovascular autonomic tests, including Valsalva maneuver, tilt-table testing, echocardiography, and cardiac scintigraphy with [123I]meta-iodobenzylguanidine were performed. Fifty-five percent of the PD patients had at least one premature ventricular contraction (PVC) in 10 minutes lying supine at rest. After every PVC (13 PVCs) recorded from normal subjects, we found an increase in systolic blood pressure above base line with a maximum at the seventh heart beat. In all of the 22 PD patients, the systolic blood pressure was significantly decreased less than baseline in every PVC from the second to the ninth postextrasystolic beat (P < 0.001). In both groups, the extrasystolic fall in blood pressure was on average approximately 22%. The postextrasystolic potentiation did not differ (5.3% vs. 4.4%, not significant). If a PVC occurs, the analysis of short-time blood pressure regulation is a sensitive tool for baroreceptor reflex function. The advantage of this method results from the independence of patients cooperation and the high sensitivity to prove a sympathetic neurocirculatory failure within 10 heart beats. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society