Variations in hot flash frequency and severity among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women were not explained by variations in resting sympathetic activation; however, greater parasympathetic activation was associated with more frequent moderate-to-severe hot flashes, a recent study found. Autonomic function was assessed at baseline and 12 weeks among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women (n=121, mean age 53 years) in a randomized trial of slow-paced respiration for hot flashes. Pre-ejection period (PEP) was measured with impedance cardiography, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) was measured with electrocardiography. Researchers found:
- PEP was not associated with hot flash frequency or severity at baseline or over the 12-week study period.
- There was a trend, however, toward greater frequency of moderate-to-severe hot flashes with higher RSA at baseline.
- There was also a positive association between change in RSA and in frequency of moderate-to-severe hot flashes over the 12-week study period.
Gibson CJ, Mendes WB, Schembri M, Grady D, Huang AJ. Cardiac autonomic function and hot flashes among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. [Published online ahead of print February 6, 2017]. Menopause. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000843.
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