Heart rate (HR) variability has been extensively studied in patients surviving an acute myocardial infarction (AMI).The majority of studies have shown that patients with reduced or abnormal HR variability/turbulence have an increased risk of mortality within few years after an AMI. Various measures of HR dynamics, such as time-domain, spectral, and non-linear measures of HR variability, as well as HR turbulence, have been used in risk stratification of post-AMI patients. The prognostic power of various measures, except of those reflecting rapid R-R interval oscillations, has been almost identical, albeit some non-linear HR variability measures, such as short-term fractal scaling exponent, and HR turbulence, have provided somewhat better prognostic information than the others. Abnor- mal HR variability predicts both sudden and non-sudden cardiac death after AMI. Because of remodeling of the arrhythmia substrate after AMI, early measurement of HR variabil- ity to identify those at high risk should likely be repeated later in order to assess the risk of fatal arrhythmia events. Future randomized trials using HR variability/turbulence as one of the pre-defined inclusion criteria will show whether routine measurement of HR variability/turbulence will become a routine clinical tool for risk stratification of post-AMI patients.
- Coronary artery disease
- Sudden cardiac death