Heart rate variability: A measure of cardiac autonomic tone

Phyllis K. Stein, Matthew S. Bosner, Robert E. Kleiger, Brooke M. Conger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

584 Scopus citations


Analysis of HRV based on routine 24-hour Holter recordings provides a sensitive, noninvasive measurement of autonomic input to the heart. HRV can be measured in the time or frequency domain. Each frequency domain variable correlates at least r = 0.85 with a time domain variable. Thus time domain measures can be used as surrogates for frequency domain measures which may simplify future studies. Abnormalities of autonomic input to the heart, which are indicated by decreased indices of HRV, are associated with increased susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias. Decreased indices of HRV are also associated with CHF, diabetes, and alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Decreased indices of HRV are an independent risk factor for mortality post MI and in patients with advanced CHF. Medications can also affect HRV, and that effect may become an important clinical consideration, especially in high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1381
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican heart journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994


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