12 October 2017
Objective: It is well-known that initiation of fingolimod induces a transient decrease of heart rate. However, the underlying cardiac autonomic regulation is poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the changes of autonomic activity caused by the first dose of fingolimod using a long-term multiple trigonometric spectral analysis for the first time. In addition, we sought to use the continuous Holter ECG recording to find predictors for fingolimod induced bradycardia.
Methods: Seventy-eight patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were included. As a part of the START study (NCT01585298), continuous electrocardiogram was recorded before fingolimod initiation, and until no <6 h post medication. Time domain and frequency domain heart rate variability (HRV) parameters were computed hourly to assess cardiac autonomic regulation. A long-term multiple trigonometric regressive spectral (MTRS) analysis was applied on successive 1-h-length electrocardiogram recordings. Decision tree analysis was used to find predictors for bradycardia following fingolimod initiation.
Results: Most of the HRV parameters representing parasympathetic activities began to increase since the second hour after fingolimod administration. These changes of autonomic regulations were in accordance with the decline of heart rate. Baseline heart rate was highly correlated with nadir heart rate, and was the only significant predicting factor for fingolimod induced bradycardia among various demographic, clinical and cardiovascular variables in the decision tree analysis.
Conclusions: The first dose application of fingolimod enhances the cardiac parasympathetic activity during the first 6 h post medication, which might be the underlying autonomic mechanism of reduced heart rate. Baseline heart rate is a powerful predictor for bradycardia caused by fingolimod.