The effects of cataract surgery on autonomic heart rate control: a prospective cross-sectional and analytical study
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to evaluate the effects of cataract surgery on cardiac autonomic modulation. METHODS: A cross-sectional and analytical study was conducted at the Hospital Maria Braido in the city of Sa˜o Caetano do Sul, Sa˜o Paulo, between 2015 and 2016. We investigated 19 patients of both sexes who were all over 50 years old; all patients had a diagnosis of senile or bilateral cataracts and were recommended to undergo implantation of the intraocular lens. Heart rate variability (HRV) was evaluated before, during and after cataract surgery. RESULTS: There were no significant changes in the time and geometric domains of HRV before, during or after surgery. The high-frequency (HF) band in normalized units (nu) on the spectral analysis significantly increased (p=0.02, Cohen’s d=0.9, large effect size). However, the low-frequency (LF) band in nu significantly decreased during surgery (p=0.02, Cohen’s d=0.9, large effect size). CONCLUSION: Throughout the intraocular lens implantation cataract surgery, there was an increase in parasympathetic modulation and a decrease in the sympathetic component of the heart rate (HR). We propose that this result is attributable to the supine position of the patients during surgery and the trigeminal reflex.