We wanted to study the effects of a 600 micrograms inhaled salbutamol dose on the cardiovascular and respiratory autonomic nervous regulation in eight children suffering from bronchial asthma.
In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study we continuously measured electrocardiogram, finger systolic arterial pressure (SAP) and flow-volume spirometry at baseline as well as 20 min and 2 h after the drug inhalation. The R-R interval (the time between successive heart beats) and SAP variabilities were assessed by using spectral analysis. Baroreflex sensitivity was assessed by using cross-spectral analysis.
Salbutamol significantly decreased the total and low frequency (LF) variability of R-R intervals as well as the high frequency (HF) variability of R-R intervals and of SAP. Salbutamol significantly increased the LF/HF ratio of R-R intervals and of SAP, minute ventilation, heart rate and forced pulmonary function in comparison with placebo. The weight of the subjects significantly correlated positively with baroreflex sensitivity and negatively with heart rate after the salbutamol inhalation.
We conclude that the acute salbutamol inhalation decreases cardiovagal nervous responsiveness, increases sympathetic dominance in the cardiovascular autonomic balance, and has a tendency to decrease baroreflex sensitivity in addition to improved pulmonary function.