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Relation between actual heart rate and autonomic effects of beta blockade in healthy men

      This study evaluated the effect of β blockade on cardiac autonomic control and its dependence on heart rate change. The relations between RR interval duration, heart rate variability (HRV), and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) were studied in 111 healthy men and in 21 male volunteers before and after a 100-mg oral dose of metoprolol. HRV and BRS correlated significantly with mean RR (r = 0.39, r = 0.57). Metoprolol administration increased both mean RR (from 996 to 1,176 ms, p <0.001), BRS from 24 to 36 ms/mm Hg (p = 0.003), and the SD of RR from 61 to 74 ms (p = 0.05). However, metoprolol-induced changes of HRV and BRS became insignificant (p = 0.69 and 0.48) after they were normalized to the same cycle length, suggesting that the improvement of cardiac autonomic control after β blockade could be explained by a change of heart rate.
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