Smoking impairs baroreflex sensitivity in humans

Giuseppe Mancia, Antonella Groppelli, Marco Di Rienzo, Paolo Castiglioni, Gianfranco Parati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 10 healthy smokers, finger blood pressure was recorded continuously for 1 h in a supine control condition and for 1 h while smoking four cigarettes, one every 15 min. Smoking increased average systolic blood pressure (+19%, P <0.01) and its variability and reduced pulse interval (reciprocal of heart rate, -22%, P <0.01) and its variability. Baroreflex sensitivity, as assessed by the slope of spontaneous hypertension/bradycardia or hypotension/tachycardia sequences and by the α-coefficient (squared ratio between pulse interval and systolic blood pressure spectral powers at 0.1 Hz) was significantly decreased (P <0.01) during smoking, whereas there were no effects of smoking on the reflex changes in pulse interval induced by carotid baroreceptor stimulation through a neck suction device. Sham smoking by a drinking straw had no effects on any of the above parameters. Thus, when assessed in the absence of laboratory maneuvers in daily life conditions, baroreflex sensitivity is markedly impaired by smoking. This impairment may contribute to the smoking-induced increase in blood pressure and heart rate as well as to the concomitant alterations in their variability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3 42-3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Arterial baroreflex
  • Heart rate variability
  • Sequence analysis
  • Spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Smoking impairs baroreflex sensitivity in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this