Preeclamptic pregnancy is associated with increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic control of HR

Cheryl C H Yang, Te Chang Chao, Terry B J Kuo, Chang Sheng Yin, Hsing I. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


Previous work from our laboratory using heart rate variability (HRV) has demonstrated that women before menopause have a more dominant parasympathetic and less effective sympathetic regulations of heart rate compared with men. Because it is still not clear whether normal or preeclamptic pregnancy coincides with alternations in the autonomic functions, we evaluated the changes of HRV in 17 nonpregnant, 17 normotensive pregnant, and 11 preeclamptic women who were clinically diagnosed without history of diabetic neuropathy, cardiac arrhythmia, and other cardiovascular diseases. Frequency- domain analysis of short-term, stationary R-R intervals was performed to evaluate the total variance, low-frequency power (LF; 0.04-0.15 Hz), high- frequency power (HF; 0.15-0.40 Hz), ratio of LF to HF (LF/HF), and LF in normalized units (LF%). Natural logarithm transformation was applied to variance, LF, HF, and LF/HF for the adjustment of the skewness of distribution. We found that the normal pregnant group had a lower R-R value and HF but had a higher LF/HF and LF% compared with the nonpregnant group. The preeclamptic group had lower HF but higher LF/HF compared with either the normal pregnant or nonpregnant group. Our results suggest that normal pregnancy is associated with a facilitation of sympathetic regulation and an attenuation of parasympathetic influence of heart rate, and such alterations are enhanced in preeclamptic pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1269-H1273
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 47-4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Heart rate variability
  • Parasympathetic activity
  • Power spectral analysis
  • Sympathovagal balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Preeclamptic pregnancy is associated with increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic control of HR'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this