How to measure baroreflex sensitivity: From the cardiovascular laboratory to daily life

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Arterial baroreflex function in humans is commonly assessed through a number of laboratory tests based on quantification of the reflex responses in heart rate or blood pressure to external stimuli applied to the cardiovascular system. Evidence is available that these laboratory estimates of baroreflex sensitivity have both pathophysiological and clinical relevance. Indeed, a number of studies have shown that the sensitivity of the baroreceptor-heart rate reflex may have a prognostic value in myocardial infarction, heart failure and diabetic patients, where mortality seems to be inversely related to the sensitivity of cardiac baroreflex modulation. A deeper insight into the features of daily-life baroreflex cardiovascular control has been offered more recently by techniques based on computer analysis of spontaneous blood pressure and heart rate fluctuations. This innovative approach allows spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity to be assessed in real life conditions, with no need for external stimulation of the patient as required by the older laboratory techniques. This review will briefly survey the methods most widely used to assess baroreflex function in humans, in the laboratory and in daily life. (C) Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Arterial baroreflex
  • Blood pressure variability
  • Essential hypertension
  • Heart rate variability
  • Sequence technique
  • Spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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