Changes in Maternal Heart Rate Variability and Photoplethysmography Morphology after Corticosteroid Administration: A Prospective, Observational Study

Maretha Bester (Corresponding author), Thomas J. Nichting, Rohan Joshi, Lamyae Aissati, Guid S. Oei, Massimo Mischi, Judith O.E.H. van Laar, Rik Vullings

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Background: Owing to the association between dysfunctional maternal autonomic regulation and pregnancy complications, assessing non-invasive features reflecting autonomic activity-e.g., heart rate variability (HRV) and the morphology of the photoplethysmography (PPG) pulse wave-may aid in tracking maternal health. However, women with early pregnancy complications typically receive medication, such as corticosteroids, and the effect of corticosteroids on maternal HRV and PPG pulse wave morphology is not well-researched. Methods: We performed a prospective, observational study assessing the effect of betamethasone (a commonly used corticosteroid) on non-invasively assessed features of autonomic regulation. Sixty-one women with an indication for betamethasone were enrolled and wore a wrist-worn PPG device for at least four days, from which five-minute measurements were selected for analysis. A baseline measurement was selected either before betamethasone administration or sufficiently thereafter (i.e., three days after the last injection). Furthermore, measurements were selected 24, 48, and 72 h after betamethasone administration. HRV features in the time domain and frequency domain and describing heart rate (HR) complexity were calculated, along with PPG morphology features. These features were compared between the different days. Results: Maternal HR was significantly higher and HRV features linked to parasympathetic activity were significantly lower 24 h after betamethasone administration. Features linked to sympathetic activity remained stable. Furthermore, based on the PPG morphology features, betamethasone appears to have a vasoconstrictive effect. Conclusions: Our results suggest that administering betamethasone affects maternal autonomic regulation and cardiovasculature. Researchers assessing maternal HRV in complicated pregnancies should schedule measurements before or sufficiently after corticosteroid administration.

Originele taal-2Engels
Artikelnummer2442
Aantal pagina's18
TijdschriftJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume13
Nummer van het tijdschrift8
DOI's
StatusGepubliceerd - 2 apr. 2024

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