Haemodynamic changes during a squat test, pulsatile stress and indices of cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in patients with long-duration type 1 diabetes

Diabetes Metab. 2012 Feb;38(1):54-62. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2011.07.007. Epub 2011 Oct 24.


Aim: Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) and pulsatile stress are considered to be independent cardiovascular risk factors. This study compared haemodynamic changes during an active orthostatic test in adult patients with type 1 diabetes (T1DM), using low versus high RR E/I ratios as a marker of CAN.

Methods: A total of 20 T1DM patients with low RR E/I ratios were compared with 20 T1DM patients with normal RR E/I ratios, matched for gender (1/1 ratio), age (mean: 46 years) and diabetes duration (22-26 years); 40 matched healthy subjects served as controls. All subjects were evaluated by continuous monitoring of arterial blood pressure (Finapres(®)) and heart rate using a standardized posture test (1-min standing, 1-min squatting, 1-min standing), thus allowing calculation of baroreflex gain.

Results: Compared with controls, T1DM patients showed lower RR E/I ratios, reduced baroreflex gains, higher pulsatile stress (pulse pressure×heart rate), greater squatting-induced pulse pressure rises, orthostatic hypotension and reduced reflex tachycardia. Compared with T1DM patients with preserved RR E/I ratios, T1DM patients with low RR E/I ratios showed reduced post-standing reflex tachycardia and baroreflex gain, and delayed blood pressure recovery, but no markers of increased pulsatile stress. Interestingly, decreased baroreflex gain was significantly associated with both pulsatile stress and microalbuminuria.

Conclusion: The use of RR E/I ratios to separate T1DM patients allows the detection of other CAN markers during an orthostatic posture test, but with no significant differences in pulsatile stress or microalbuminuria. In this context, squatting-derived baroreflex gain appears to be more informative.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Baroreflex*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / therapy
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / blood
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology*
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture*
  • Tachycardia / etiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult