Hypertensive pregnancy disorders are a leading cause of perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality. Heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure variability (BPV), and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) are relevant predictors of cardiovascular risk in humans. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether HRV, BPV, and BRS differ between distinct hypertensive pregnancy disorders. Continuous heart rate and blood pressure recordings were performed in 80 healthy pregnant women as controls (CON), 19 with chronic hypertension (CH), 18 with pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), and 44 with pre-eclampsia (PE). The data were assessed by time and frequency domain analysis, nonlinear dynamics, and BRS. BPV is markedly altered in all three groups with hypertensive disorders compared to healthy pregnancies, whereby changes were most pronounced in PE patients. Interestingly, this increase in PE patients did not lead to elevated spontaneous baroreflex events, while BPV changes in both the other hypertensive groups were paralleled by alterations in baroreflex parameters. The HRV is unaltered in CH and PE but significantly impaired in PIH. We conclude that parameters of the HRV, BPV, and BRS differ between various hypertensive pregnancy disorders. Thus, distinct clinical manifestations of hypertension in pregnancy have different pathophysiological, regulatory, and compensatory mechanisms.

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doi.org/10.1038/sj.jhh.1001730, hdl.handle.net/1765/69139
Journal of Human Hypertension
Department of Pharmacology

Faber, R., Baumert, M., Stepan, H., Wessel, N., Voss, A., & Walther, T. (2004). Baroreflex sensitivity, heart rate, and blood pressure variability in hypertensive pregnancy disorders. Journal of Human Hypertension, 18(10), 707–712. doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1001730