Residual vasomotor activity assessed by heart rate variability in a brain-dead case

Calixto Machado, Mario Estevez, Jesus Perez-Nellar, Adam Schiavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A patient assessed by heart rate variability (HRV) methodology, beginning just after the completion of brain death (BD) diagnosis, showed remaining very low frequency (VLF) waves for approximately 10 min. A time-varying spectral analysis showed that during the first 550 s, a significant power spectral density remained in the high-frequency (HF), low-frequency (LF) and VLF bands. From 550 to 675 s, the HF oscillations totally vanished, and a marked progressive decay of the LF and VLF power density occurred. After 700 s the VLF undulations stopped and remaining small amplitude oscillations at 0.2 Hz coincided with the ventilator frequency. The VLF oscillations recorded in our case might be related to residual sympathetic vasomotor activity that progressively disappeared due to the extension of necrosis affecting the nervous centres of the lower part of the medulla and the first 2-3 cervical spine segments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number205677
JournalBMJ case reports
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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