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Cortisol is significantly correlated with cardiovascular responses during high levels of stress in critical care personnel.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Everyday stressors elicit adaptive changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system. Data on the relationship between these two systems under real-life conditions are sparse. We, therefore, sought to examine the association between HRV and salivary cortisol, which were recorded simultaneously in a stress-exposed, prospective, occupational cohort.

METHODS

The study population comprised 88 nurses. We recorded heart rate (HR) and HRV during 301 working shifts. Participants provided salivary cortisol samples at the beginning of their work shift and every 2 hours thereafter. Samples were collected during three investigation periods spread over 9 months. Change scores for cortisol were calculated as deviations from the expected circadian baseline. Change scores from the grand diurnal mean in the time domain-based root mean square of successive differences served to index alterations in HRV. To account for the temporal delay between changes in HR/HRV and changes in salivary cortisol, the latter were compared with the changes in HR/HRV observed 15 minutes to 45 minutes before the cortisol sampling.

RESULTS

During periods of high stress as indexed by high cortisol levels, we found significant associations between cortisol levels and HR (r = .48, p < .001) and HRV (r = -.28, p = .05). However, during low stress periods, these associations were attenuated and became nonsignificant.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest a relative independence in the regulation of the HPA axis and the autonomic nervous system in response to everyday stressors but synchrony of both systems in highly stressful situations.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    MSc, Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Mannheim Medical Faculty, Heidelberg University, Ludolf-Krehl-Strasse 7-11, 68167 Mannheim, Germany.

    , , , , ,

    Source

    Psychosomatic medicine 72:3 2010 Apr pg 281-9

    MeSH

    Adult
    Autonomic Nervous System
    Cardiovascular System
    Circadian Rhythm
    Critical Care
    Female
    Heart Rate
    Humans
    Hydrocortisone
    Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System
    Longitudinal Studies
    Nurses
    Pituitary-Adrenal System
    Saliva
    Stress, Psychological
    Work Schedule Tolerance

    Pub Type(s)

    Comparative Study
    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    20190125

    Citation

    Looser, Rahel R., et al. "Cortisol Is Significantly Correlated With Cardiovascular Responses During High Levels of Stress in Critical Care Personnel." Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 72, no. 3, 2010, pp. 281-9.
    Looser RR, Metzenthin P, Helfricht S, et al. Cortisol is significantly correlated with cardiovascular responses during high levels of stress in critical care personnel. Psychosom Med. 2010;72(3):281-9.
    Looser, R. R., Metzenthin, P., Helfricht, S., Kudielka, B. M., Loerbroks, A., Thayer, J. F., & Fischer, J. E. (2010). Cortisol is significantly correlated with cardiovascular responses during high levels of stress in critical care personnel. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(3), pp. 281-9. doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181d35065.
    Looser RR, et al. Cortisol Is Significantly Correlated With Cardiovascular Responses During High Levels of Stress in Critical Care Personnel. Psychosom Med. 2010;72(3):281-9. PubMed PMID: 20190125.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Cortisol is significantly correlated with cardiovascular responses during high levels of stress in critical care personnel. AU - Looser,Rahel R, AU - Metzenthin,Petra, AU - Helfricht,Susanne, AU - Kudielka,Brigitte M, AU - Loerbroks,Adrian, AU - Thayer,Julian F, AU - Fischer,Joachim E, Y1 - 2010/02/26/ PY - 2010/3/2/entrez PY - 2010/3/2/pubmed PY - 2010/5/12/medline SP - 281 EP - 9 JF - Psychosomatic medicine JO - Psychosom Med VL - 72 IS - 3 N2 - OBJECTIVE: Everyday stressors elicit adaptive changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system. Data on the relationship between these two systems under real-life conditions are sparse. We, therefore, sought to examine the association between HRV and salivary cortisol, which were recorded simultaneously in a stress-exposed, prospective, occupational cohort. METHODS: The study population comprised 88 nurses. We recorded heart rate (HR) and HRV during 301 working shifts. Participants provided salivary cortisol samples at the beginning of their work shift and every 2 hours thereafter. Samples were collected during three investigation periods spread over 9 months. Change scores for cortisol were calculated as deviations from the expected circadian baseline. Change scores from the grand diurnal mean in the time domain-based root mean square of successive differences served to index alterations in HRV. To account for the temporal delay between changes in HR/HRV and changes in salivary cortisol, the latter were compared with the changes in HR/HRV observed 15 minutes to 45 minutes before the cortisol sampling. RESULTS: During periods of high stress as indexed by high cortisol levels, we found significant associations between cortisol levels and HR (r = .48, p < .001) and HRV (r = -.28, p = .05). However, during low stress periods, these associations were attenuated and became nonsignificant. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest a relative independence in the regulation of the HPA axis and the autonomic nervous system in response to everyday stressors but synchrony of both systems in highly stressful situations. SN - 1534-7796 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/20190125/Cortisol_is_significantly_correlated_with_cardiovascular_responses_during_high_levels_of_stress_in_critical_care_personnel_ L2 - http://Insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=20190125 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -