Short-term Sleep Deprivation Affects Heart Function

In a study presented today at RSNA 2016, researchers for the first time showed that 24-hour, shift-related, short-term sleep deprivation leads to a significant increase in cardiac contractility, blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormone secretion.

Daniel Kuetting, MD, from the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany, and colleagues recruited 20 subjects and scanned them on a clinical 1.5 T cardiovascular MR scanner before and following a 24-hour shift with an average of three hours of sleep. In addition, venous blood and urine samples were collected from all subjects and blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) was measured.

Following short-term sleep deprivation, increases in systolic and diastolic BP, HR as well as peak systolic circumferential strain and peaksystolic longitudinal strain were revealed.

“The study was designed to investigate real-life work-related sleep deprivation," Dr. Kuetting said. "While the participants were not permitted to consume caffeine or food and beverages containing theobromine, such as chocolate, nuts or tea, we did not take into account factors like individual stress level or environmental stimuli.”