Circadian patterns have been observed for various cardiovascular functions and events including sudden cardiac death. This study examined whether ventricular arrhythmias could be a pathophysiologic explanation for the increase in prevalence of sudden cardiac death observed between 6 A.M. and noon. Hypertensive men 35 to 70 years of age and without a history of symptomatic cardiac disease were withdrawn from diuretic treatment and received 1 month of oral electrolyte repletion with both 40 mmol of potassium chloride and 400 mg of magnesium oxide daily. Then continuous 24-hour Holter monitoring was performed and ventricular arrhythmias were classified by 6-hour time intervals. The interval from 6 A.M. to noon revealed a higher prevalence of complex or frequent ventricular arrhythmias than the interval from midnight to 6 A.M., as well as a higher mean number of ventricular premature complexes per hour. The differences were statistically significant (p < 0.01) and amounted to increases of about one third. Ventricular arrhythmias during the other two 6-hour periods were intermediary in frequency. It is concluded that the increase in sudden cardiac death noted in the morning might be related, at least in part, to an increase in frequency of ventricular arrhythmias; the implications of this observation for preventive cardiology deserve further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine