Diabetes 2005 Mar;54(3):744-50
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000 (Kajaanintie 50), FIN-90014 University of Oulu, Finland.
Effects of hypoglycemia on cardiac autonomic regulation may contribute to the occurrence of adverse cardiac events. This study assessed the effects of sustained hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia on cardiovascular autonomic regulation in type 1 diabetic patients and their nondiabetic counterparts. The study consisted of 16 type 1 diabetic patients and 8 age-matched healthy control subjects who underwent euglycemic and hypoglycemic clamp procedures in a random order. Heart rate variability was measured from continuous electrocardiogram recordings by time and frequency domain methods, along with Poincare plot analysis during both a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic and hypoglycemic clamp at three different glucose levels (4.5-5.5, 3.0-3.5, and 2.0-2.5 mmol/l). Controlled hypoglycemia resulted in an increase of supine heart rate in both the diabetic patients (from 72 +/- 9 to 80 +/- 11 bpm, P < 0.01) and the control subjects (from 59 +/- 5 to 65 +/- 5 bpm, P < 0.05) and progressive reductions of the high-frequency spectral component and beat-to-beat heart rate variability (SD1; P < 0.05 in the diabetic patients and P < 0.01 in control subjects). No significant changes in heart rate variability occurred during the euglycemic clamp. We conclude that hypoglycemia results in a reduction of cardiac vagal outflow in both diabetic and nondiabetic subjects. Altered autonomic regulation may contribute to the occurrence of cardiac events during hypoglycemia.