Low Heart Rate Is Associated with Cerebral Pulsatility after TIA or Minor Stroke.
Webb AJS., Wartolowska KA., Li L., Rothwell PM.
OBJECTIVE: Beta-blockers are beneficial in coronary artery disease but less so in stroke prevention and dementia, potentially due to reduced heart rate (HR). Cerebral pulsatility is strongly associated with cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) and may be increased by lower diastolic pressures resulting from longer cardiac cycles. METHODS: Patients 4-6 weeks after TIA or non-disabling stroke (Oxford Vascular Study) underwent 5 minutes continuous monitoring of blood pressure (BP), electrocardiogram (ECG), and middle cerebral artery flow velocity (transcranial ultrasound). Beat-to-beat relationships between HR, blood pressure and Gosling's pulsatility index (MCA-PI) are reported as beta-coefficients from general linear models for each individual. RESULTS: Across 759 patients, average MCA-PI during monitoring was associated with lower HR and diastolic BP (DBP) and greater systolic BP (SBP) (∆MCA-PI per 10 bpm/mmHg: -0.02, -0.04, 0.03, all p 70 + HR 65: -0.081 vs -0.024, interaction p 70 + severe vs age