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Renal sympathetic denervation suppresses postapneic blood pressure rises and atrial fibrillation in a model for sleep apnea

Dominik Linz, Felix Mahfoud, Ulrich Schotten, Christian Ukena, Hans-Ruprecht Neuberger, Klaus Wirth, Michael Böhm
Hypertension 2012, 60 (1): 172-8
22585944
The aim of this study was to identify the relative impact of adrenergic and cholinergic activity on atrial fibrillation (AF) inducibility and blood pressure (BP) in a model for obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with sympathovagal disbalance, AF, and postapneic BP rises. Renal denervation (RDN) reduces renal efferent and possibly also afferent sympathetic activity and BP in resistant hypertension. The effects of RDN compared with β-blockade by atenolol on atrial electrophysiological changes, AF inducibility, and BP during obstructive events and on shortening of atrial effective refractory period (AERP) induced by high-frequency stimulation of ganglionated plexi were investigated in 20 anesthetized pigs. Tracheal occlusion with applied negative tracheal pressure (NTP; at -80 mbar) induced pronounced AERP shortening and increased AF inducibility in all of the pigs. RDN but not atenolol reduced NTP-induced AF-inducibility (20% versus 100% at baseline; P=0.0001) and attenuated NTP-induced AERP shortening more than atenolol (27±5 versus 43±3 ms after atenolol; P=0.0272). Administration of atropine after RDN or atenolol completely inhibited NTP-induced AERP shortening. AERP shortening induced by high-frequency stimulation of ganglionated plexi was not influenced by RDN, suggesting that changes in sensitivity of ganglionated plexi do not play a role in the antiarrhythmic effect of RDN. Postapneic BP rise was inhibited by RDN and not modified by atenolol. We showed that vagally mediated NTP-induced AERP shortening is modulated by RDN or atenolol, which emphasizes the importance of autonomic disbalance in obstructive sleep apnea-associated AF. Renal denervation displays antiarrhythmic effects by reducing NTP-induced AERP shortening and inhibits postapneic BP rises associated with obstructive events.

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