Heart rate variability in risk stratification of cardiac patients

Heikki V. Huikuri, Phyllis K. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations

Abstract

Heart rate (HR) variability has been extensively studied in cardiac patients, especially in patients surviving an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and also in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) or left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. The majority of studies have shown that patients with reduced or abnormal HR variability have an increased risk of mortality within a few years after an AMI or after a diagnosis of CHF/LV dysfunction. Various measures of HR dynamics, such as time-domain, spectral, and non-linear measures of HR variability have been used in risk stratification. 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 have provided somewhat better prognostic information than the others. Abnormal HR variability predicts both sudden and non-sudden cardiac death. Because of remodeling of the arrhythmia substrate after AMI, early measurement of HR variability 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 cardiac patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in cardiovascular diseases
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • Heart failure
  • Mortality
  • Myocardial infarction

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