Tuberc Respir Dis > Volume 46(3); 1999 > Article
Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases 1999;46(3):317-326.
DOI:    Published online March 1, 1999.
Dysfunction of Autonomic Nervous System in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases.
Kyeong Cheol Shin, Kwan Ho Lee, Hye Jung Park, Chang Jin Shin, Choong Ki Lee, Jin Hong Chung, Hyun Woo Lee
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Taegu, Korea.
Neural control of airway function is through parasympathetic, sympathetic and non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic mechanisms. The autonomic nervous system controls the airway smooth muscle tone, mucociliary system, permeability and blood flow in the bronchial circulation and release of mediators from the mast cells and other inflammatory cells. The cardiovascular and respiratory autonomic efferent fibers have a common central origin, so altered cardiovascular autonomic reflexes could reflect the altered respiratory autonomic status. Therefore, we performed this study to assess the autonomic abnormality and determine the correlating factors of severity of autonomic neuropathy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) using easily reproducible cardiovascular autonomic reflex function test. METHOD: The study included 20 patients with COPD and 20 healthy persons obtained on Health Promotion Center in Yeungnam university hospital. All the patients had history and clinical features of COPD as defined by the American Thoracic Society. Any patients with myocardial ischemia, cardiac arrythmia, hypertension, central or peripheral nervous system disease, diabetes mellitus, or any other diseases known to produce autonomic neuropathy, has excluded. The autonomic nervous system function tests included three tests evaluating the parasympathetic system and two tests evaluating the sympathetic system. And also all subjects were subjected to pulmonary function test and arterial blood gas analysis. RESULTS: 1) Autonomic dysfunction was more commonly associated with patients with COPD than healthy person. 2) The parasympathetic dysfunction was frequent in patient with COPD, but sympathetic dysfunction seemed preserved. 3) The severity of parasympathetic dysfunction in patients with COPD was correlated with the degree of duration of disease, smoking, FEV1, FVC, and arterial hypoxemia but no such correlation existed for age, type of COPD, FEV1/FVC, or PaCO2. CONCLUSION: There is high frequency of parasympathetic dysfunction associated with COPD and the parasympathetic abnormality in COPD is increased in proportion to severity of airway disease. In COPD, parasympathetic dysfunction probably does not the cause of disease, but it may be an effect of disease progression.
Key Words: Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, Autonomic dysfunction

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