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Effects of Desipramine on Autonomic Input to the Heart

Authors
Journal
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
0890-8567
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
38
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1097/00004583-199909000-00025
Keywords
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Desipramine
  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Arrhythmias

Abstract

ABSTRACT Objective To examine the impact of age on the effects of desipramine (DMI) on autonomic input to the heart. Method Twenty-four-hour electrocardiograms were obtained from 42 subjects, aged 7 to 66 years, while off and on DMI. To obtain measures of autonomic input to the heart, heart rate variability was assessed via spectral analysis of RR interval variability. Results DMI treatment was associated with a significant increase in 24-hour mean heart rate and significant decreases in RR interval variability in all spectral bands, including in the high-frequency band, which provides a measure of parasympathetic input to the heart. RR interval variability was greater in younger individuals both off and on DMI. Conclusions DMI treatment was associated with a marked decline in RR interval variability, indicating that DMI affects autonomic input to the heart. Specifically, DMI reduced parasympathetic input, which, in theory, may increase vulnerability to arrhythmias. However, the magnitude of DMI's impact on RR interval variability did not vary with age. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 1999, 38(9):1186–1192.

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