Skip to content
Generic

Heart rate variability: A noninvasive electrocardiographic method to measure the autonomic nervous system

Sztajzel J ...see all

Swiss Medical Weekly, vol. 134, issue 35-36 (2004) pp. 514-522

  • 362

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 267

    Citations

    Citations of this article.
  • N/A

    Views

    ScienceDirect users who have downloaded this article.
Sign in to save reference

Abstract

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) plays an important role not only in physiological situations, but also in various pathological settings such as diabetic neuropathy, myocardial infarction (MI) and congestive heart failure (CHF). Autonomic imbalance associating increased sympathetic activity and reduced vagal tone has been been strongly implicated in the pathophysiology of arrhythmogenesis and sudden cardiac death. Among the different available noninvasive techniques for assessing the autonomic status heart rate variability (HRV) has emerged as a simple, noninvasive method to evaluate the sympathovagal balance at the sinoatrial level. It has been used in a variety of clinical situations including diabetic neuropathy, MI, sudden death and CHF. The standard measurements intervening in the analysis of HRV comprise time domain indices, geometric methods and components of the frequency domain. Measurements of HRV are generally performed on the basis of 24 hour Holter recordings (long-term recordings) or on shorter periods ranging from 0.5 to 5 minutes (short-term recordings). The use of long or short-term recordings depends on the type of study that has to be realised. Established clinical data based on numerous studies published during the last decade consider decreased global HRV as a strong predictor of increased all-cause cardiac and/or arrhythmic mortality, particularly in patients at risk after MI or with CHF. This article reviews the mechanism, the parameters and the use of HRV as a marker reflecting the activity of the sympathetic and vagal components of the ANS on the sinus node, and as a clinical tool for screening and identifying patients particularly at risk for cardiac mortality.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Arrhythmogenesis
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart rate variability
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Risk stratification
  • Sudden cardiac death

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text

Authors

  • Juan Sztajzel

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below