Heart Rate Variability and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: A Systematic Review

Patrycja S. Matusik, Omar Alomar, Maryam Rafaqat Hussain, Muhammad Akrmah, Paweł T. Matusik, Daniel M. Chen, Muhammed Alomar, Phyllis K. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a well-established surgical procedure used to treat significant coronary artery disease. Nevertheless, unfavorable cardiovascular events and complications, including cardiac arrhythmias may be observed in patients after CABG. Previous studies have revealed a relationship between risk of cardiac arrhythmias and abnormal heart rate variability (HRV), which reflects adverse alterations in cardiac autonomic functioning, that may occur in patients after a CABG procedure. The aim of this article was to provide a systematic review of the major research findings in this area. Methods: A literature search was carried out using PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase databases and relevant articles, published in English, were analyzed in detail. Results: Studies performed so far have shown time depending changes in HRV after CABG. Time and frequency domain HRV decrease acutely after CABG but recover almost completely to pre-operative values by 6 months after surgery. Some preoperative clinical states such as: heart failure, type 2 diabetes mellitus and depression adversely affect post-CABG HRV. Finally, post-CABG cardiac rehabilitation appears to improve exercise capacity and speed up recovery of HRV. Conclusions: Generally, traditional time and frequency domain HRV parameters fail to predict complications post-CABG. Altered non-linear measures of HRV may identify subgroups of subjects at increased risk of potential complications, including atrial fibrillation post-CABG. However, data available currently does not appear to unequivocally support the hypothesis that early HRV assessment in post-CABG patients predicts long-term mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalReviews in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • atrial fibrillation
  • coronary artery bypass grafting surgery
  • heart rate variability
  • mortality
  • rehabilitation


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