Depression and heart rate variability in patients with coronary heart disease

Robert M. Carney, Kenneth E. Freedland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Depression is common in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and is a risk factor for cardiac morbidity and mortality in these patients. Depression is associated with autonomic nervous system dysfunction, which may at least partially explain this increased risk. Low heart rate variability (HRV), which reflects excessive sympathetic and/or inadequate parasympathetic modulation of heart rate, is a strong predictor of mortality in patients with CHD. Most studies-both in patients with stable CHD and in patients with a recent acute coronary event- have found HRV to be lower in depressed patients than in their nondepressed counterparts. This manuscript provides an overview of this literature and concludes that HRV may account for a substantial part of the risk associated with depression in CHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S13-S17
JournalCleveland Clinic journal of medicine
Issue numberSUPPL.2
StatePublished - 2009


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