The validity of a hyperventilation test for an investigation of autonomic failure: assessment in patients with multiple system atrophy and Parkinson's disease


Professor Shigeki Kuriyama, Department of Gastroenterology and Neurology, Kagawa University Faculty of Medicine, 1750-1 Ikenobe, Miki-cho, Kita-gun, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan
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Although heart rate (HR) responses to hyperventilation (HV) have been used as a cardiovascular autonomic function test, autonomic involvement during HV remains uncertain. To clarify the relationship between autonomic activity and cardiovascular changes during HV, we compared cardiovascular responses during HV among subjects with different autonomic function, namely 16 patients with probable multiple system atrophy (MSA), 16 with possible MSA, 28 with Parkinson's disease (PD) and 28 healthy controls. Abnormalities of cardiovascular responses to head-up postural change and the Valsalva maneuver were definitely present in the order of probable MSA, possible MSA and PD, and abnormal HR and blood pressure (BP) responses during HV were observed in probable MSA and possible MSA, but not in PD. Unlike the significant difference in standard cardiovascular autonomic function tests, the HR and BP responses during HV were equivalent between probable and possible MSA. These findings suggest that cardiovascular control during HV may be affected not only by autonomic activity but also by other factors.