Peng Li, Zihan Wei, Haoping Zhang, Kainan Zhang, Junwei Li

August 2019, Volume 28, Issue 8, pp 1864 - 1871 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-05972-9

First Online: 22 April 2019

Effects of decompressive operation on cardiac autonomic regulation in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy


To investigate the effects of cervical decompression operation on cardiac autonomic regulation and its relationship to recovery of somatic neurological function in cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) patients.


One hundred and thirty-two consecutive patients were enrolled in this study, in which 73 patients received decompression operation and the remaining 59 were treated non-operatively. The follow-up period was 6 months. Baseline and follow-up evaluation included Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score, office-based blood pressure (BP) measurement, heart rate (HR), and 24-h heart rate variability (HRV) assessment. Relationship between achieved JOA score (final JOA score–baseline score) and changes of BP, HR, and HRV parameters in both operative and non-operative groups was analyzed.


In operative group, patients’ JOA score and markers of parasympathetic activity in HRV assessment were significantly higher than baseline level 6 months later. Blood pressure, especially systolic blood pressure (SBP), was significantly downregulated in both hypertension and non-hypertension patients. Mean heart rate was also significantly decreased. Furthermore, achieved JOA score was significantly negatively correlated with changes of SBP, minimal HR, mean HR, maximum HR, but significantly positively correlated with changes of HRV parameters reflecting parasympathetic activity. However, changes of JOA score, BP, HR, and HRV parameters in non-operative group were not significant.


Cervical decompression operation could improve both somatic neurological function and cardiac autonomic regulation in CSM patients, and achieved JOA score was significantly positively correlated with improvement in HRV and cardiac parasympathetic activity.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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