Mental stress enhances the sympathetic fraction of QT variability in an RR-independent way
In 10 healthy male volunteers aged 19–20, spectral power of the beat-by-beat QT interval was measured at the Traube-Herring-Mayer (THM) band (0.05 to 0.15 Hz) when the subject was at rest and during atrial pacing. After resting in dorsal decubitus for 10 minutes, right atrial pacing was performed at a slight elevation above sinus rhythm as well as at 100 or at 110 beats per minute for 7 minutes each. In addition, during pacing at 100 or 110 bpm, the subject was required to perform a Kraepelin Arithmetic test. There was a statistically significant increase in QT spectral power at the THM band, while heart rate was maintained unchanged during the periods of mental stress versus rest. This experiment confirms the potential independence of the QT interval from heart rate and suggests that THM fraction of QT spectral power has a double subordination: during relaxed rest it follows mostly RR-fluctuation; during stress an RR-independent contribution is added, which presumably reflects the supra-normal sympathetic drive on the ventricles.
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