Objective: To determine whether heart rate variability and cardiovascular reflex tests are abnormal in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: We measured heart rate variability (24 h ambulatory recordings), and used baroreflex sensitivity testing and cardiovascular reflex tests in a cross sectional, case-control study. Those taking drugs with cardiovascular activity were excluded.
Results: Determination of heart rate variability was simple to perform, well tolerated, and found to be reduced in the patients with lupus, but not strongly related to disease activity or duration.
Conclusion: This may reflect underlying autonomic dysfunction; longitudinal studies will determine full clinical relevance.