Heart rate variability and biomarkers of systemic inflammation in patients with stable coronary heart disease: Findings from the Heart and Soul Study

Roland Von Känel, Robert M. Carney, Shoujun Zhao, Mary A. Whooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Chronic low-grade systemic inflammation is a key component in atherogenesis. Decreased heart rate variability (HRV), a strong predictor of cardiovascular events, has been associated with elevations in circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, and fibrinogen in apparently healthy individuals. We investigated whether decreased HRV is associated with inflammatory markers in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Methods: We studied the relationship between HRV and CRP, IL-6, and fibrinogen in 862 outpatients with CHD. All participants provided fasting blood samples and underwent 24-h ambulatory monitoring to assess time-domain measures of HRV (MeanNN, SDNN, SDANN, and RMSSD). Regression analyses were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, diabetes, beta blocker use, and cardiopulmonary history. Results: MeanNN, SDNN, and SDANN were significantly and inversely associated with CRP and IL-6 levels in age-adjusted models and after adjustment for all covariates (p ≥ 0.02). MeanNN, SDNN, and SDANN were also inversely associated with fibrinogen levels in age-adjusted models (p < 0.03), but not significantly so in multivariable-adjusted models. Reduced vagal modulation of heart rate (RMSSD) was not significantly associated with any inflammatory measures. Conclusions: Reduced cardiac autonomic control is associated with increased systemic inflammation in patients with stable CHD. This relationship was largely independent of important covariates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Research in Cardiology
Volume100
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiac autonomic function
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart rate variability
  • Inflammation

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