University of Oulu

Autonomic dysfunction in early and advanced Parkinson's disease

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Author: Pursiainen, Ville1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2007
Publish Date: 2007-04-03
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium 8 of Oulu University Hospital, on April 13th, 2007, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Mikko Kuoppamäki
Docent Minna Riekkinen


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is known to affect both the extrapyramidal system and the autonomic nervous system even in the early phases of the disease. This study was designed to evaluate cardiovascular autonomic regulation in early PD by measuring heart rate (HR) variability from 24-hour ECG recordings. The dynamics of blood pressure (BP), HR and sweating in patients with and without wearing-off were assessed during clinical observations after a morning dose of levodopa. In patients with wearing-off the tests were repeated after selegiline withdrawal.

The power spectral components of HR variability and the SD1 value of the Poincaré analysis that quantifies the short-term beat-to-beat variability were suppressed at night in the PD patients. During the daytime only the SD1 of the Poincaré was suppressed. The results indicate impairment of parasympathetic cardiovascular regulation in untreated patients with PD. The dysfunction was more pronounced at night and in patients with more severe PD.

The patients with wearing-off had fluctuation of BP during the observation period, BP increasing when the motor performance worsened and vice versa (p < 0.001). The patients without wearing-off did not show fluctuation of BP.

Sweating increased during the observation period, and reached its maximum level at the time of the highest UPDRS motor score phase (off-stage) in patients with wearing-off, but in the patients without wearing-off no changes in sweating were observed. Sweating of the hands was significantly higher in PD patients with motor fluctuations than in those without.

Selegiline withdrawal decreased systolic BP significantly during the on-stage in a supine position as well as during the orthostatic test. The initial drop of BP in the orthostatic test was significantly smaller after selegiline withdrawal. The HR and sweating remained unaffected.

The results show that the autonomic nervous system is affected in the early phases of PD. The dysfunction becomes more pronounced with the disease progression. Wearing-off type motor fluctuations are associated with fluctuation of BP and sweating and these fluctuations may represent autonomic dysfunction caused by PD, the effect of PD medication, or both. Selegiline withdrawal seems to alleviate the orthostatic reaction in patients with advanced PD.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 978-951-42-8388-8
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8387-1
Issue: 916
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2007. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.