Autonomic dysfunction in early and advanced Parkinson's disease, Acta Universitatis Ouluensis D Medica 916

Parkinson's disease (PD) is known to affect both the extrapyramidal system and the autonomic nervous system even in the early phases of the disease. This study was designed to evaluate cardiovascular autonomic regulation in early PD by measuring heart rate (HR) variability from 24-hour ECG recordings. The dynamics of blood pressure (BP), HR and sweating in patients with and without wearing-off were assessed during clinical observations after a morning dose of levodopa. In patients with wearing-off the tests were repeated after selegiline withdrawal.\n\nThe power spectral components of HR variability and the SD1 value of the Poincaré analysis that quantifies the short-term beat-to-beat variability were suppressed at night in the PD patients. During the daytime only the SD1 of the Poincaré was suppressed. The results indicate impairment of parasympathetic cardiovascular regulation in untreated patients with PD. The dysfunction was more pronounced at night and in patients with more severe PD.\n\nThe patients with wearing-off had fluctuation of BP during the observation period, BP increasing when the motor performance worsened and vice versa (p Sweating of the hands was significantly higher in PD patients with motor fluctuations than in those without.\nSelegiline withdrawal decreased systolic BP significantly during the on-stage in a supine position as well as during the orthostatic test. The initial drop of BP in the orthostatic test was significantly smaller after selegiline withdrawal. The HR and sweating remained unaffected.\nThe results show that the autonomic nervous system is affected in the early phases of PD. The dysfunction becomes more pronounced with the disease progression. Wearing-off type motor fluctuations are associated with fluctuation of BP and sweating and these fluctuations may represent autonomic dysfunction caused by PD, the effect of PD medication, or both. Selegiline withdrawal seems to alleviate the orthostatic reaction in patients with advanced PD.\n

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