[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 1996

Extent of Autonomic Activation Following Cerebral Ischemia Is Different in Hypertensive and Normotensive Humans

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Technical University of Munich (Germany).

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(9):890-894. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550090096015

Objectives:  To evaluate whether the extent of autonomic activation following brain infarction differs between hypertensive and normotensive humans, and to investigate the role of the insular cortex for this sympathetic activation.

Design:  Prospective, hospital-based study.

Setting:  Department of Neurology of a university medical center.

Subjects:  Forty-two patients with essential hypertension and 45 patients who were normotensive.

Main Outcome Measures:  Extent of autonomic activation following stroke as indicated by circadian blood pressure patterns, serum norepinephrine levels, and cardiovascular variables.

Results:  Normotensive patients with insular infarction showed a significantly reduced circadian blood pressure variation and a higher frequency of nocturnal blood pressure increase compared with patients suffering from essential hypertension and insular stroke. These findings were also associated with higher serum norepinephrine concentrations and more frequent electrocardiographic abnormalities. No significant changes in these variables were seen between normotensive and hypertensive patients without insular involvement.

Conclusions:  Our findings suggest a difference in cortical control of autonomic function between hypertensive and normotensive patients after stroke and point to a possible role of the insular cortex in the pathogenesis of essential hypertension.