World Journal of Cardiology
AIM: To conduct the first systematic test of the hypothesis that modulation of cardiac vagal tone is impaired in Lyme disease.
METHODS: The response of cardiac vagal tone to respiratory modulation was measured in 18 serologically positive Lyme disease patients and in 18 controls.
RESULTS: The two groups were matched in respect of age, sex, body mass, mean arterial blood pressure, mean resting heart rate and mean resting cardiac vagal tone. The mean maximum cardiac vagal tone during deep breathing in the Lyme disease patients [11.2 (standard error 1.3)] was lower than in the matched controls [16.5 (standard error 1.7); P = 0.02].
CONCLUSION: Respiratory modulation of cardiac vagal tone is impaired in Lyme disease, which suggests that Lyme disease may directly affect the vagus nerve or the brainstem.