Autonomic nervous system assessment in people with HIV: A cross-sectional study
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Background: People diagnosed with HIV may exhibit orthostatic hypotension (OH) as a result of the infection and of secondary effects of medications. Such impairments are attributed to autonomic nervous system (ANS) deficits. The purpose of this study was to assess OH during a balance sensory condition test (SCT) and evaluate the role of the cardiac autonomic system, regarding blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), during this balancing task. We hypothesized that BP and heart rate would rise with an increase in postural instability, thus revealing OH. Methods: Eight individuals diagnosed with HIV were recruited from a community health center in the area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. BP and HR were measured after 5 minutes of sitting, immediately after standing up and 1 minute after this, during the SCT. A t-test was used to assess the difference between BP in sitting, BP in standing, and BP while performing the SCT. HR was also evaluated the same way. Results: There was an increase of more than 10 mmHg in systolic BP (SBP) from sitting compared to standing while performing the SCT (p≤0.01). Likewise, HR and SBP standing versus standing during the SCT increased significantly (p≤0.01). Conclusion: The results of this study show that the ANS may be impaired in people with HIV. **This article was published with the assistance of the Texas Woman's University Libraries Open Access Fund.