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Objectives The purpose of this study was to compare the presence and severity of autonomic dysfunction in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients, with and without exaggerated blood pressure responses to exercise. Design We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 98 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (aged 59 ± 9). Methods Both time (standard deviation of RR intervals, root-mean-square of successive RR interval differences) and frequency (total spectral power, high frequency, low frequency, very low frequency) domains of heart rate variability were analysed in a 5 min recording at rest and 20 min after a maximal treadmill test. An exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise was identified by peak blood pressure ≥190/105 mm Hg (women) or ≥210/105 mm Hg (men). Results Each group of either exaggerated exercise blood pressure response or normal blood pressure response consisted of 49 patients. At rest there were no significant differences between groups for all time and frequency domain parameters of heart rate variability. Post-exercise, there was a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in the SDNN, RMSSD and TP in the exaggerated exercise blood pressure group. Independent correlates (p < 0.01) of exercise systolic blood pressure included post-exercise TP, resting systolic blood pressure, cardiac autonomic neuropathy and beta-blockers (beta = −0.28, adj. R2 = 0.32, p < 0.001). Conclusions Reduced post-exercise heart rate variability in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, with an exaggerated exercise blood pressure response suggests preclinical autonomic dysfunction characterized by impaired vagal modulation.


School of Exercise Science

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Journal Article

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