Stability over time of variables measuring heart rate variability in normal subjects

Robert E. Kleiger, J. Thomas Bigger, Matthew S. Bosner, Mina K. Chung, James R. Cook, Linda M. Rolnitzky, Richard Steinman, Joseph L. Fleiss

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315 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both time and frequency domain measures of heart rate (HR) variability have been used to assess autonomic tone in a variety of clinical conditions. Few studies in normal subjects have been performed to determine the stability of HR variability over time, or the correlation between and within time and frequency domain measures of HR variability. Fourteen normal subjects aged 20 to 55 years were studied with baseline and placebo 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiograms performed 3 to 65 days apart to assess the reproducibility of the following time domain measures of cycle length variability: the standard deviation of all normal cycle intervals; mean normal cycle interval; mean day normal cycle interval; night/day difference in mean normal cycle interval; root-mean-square successive cycle interval difference; percentage of differences between adjacent normal cycle length intervals that are >50 ms computed over the entire 24-hour electrocardiographic recording (proportion of adjacent intervals >50 ms); and the frequency domain measures of high (0.15 to 40 Hz), low (0.003 to 0.15) and total (0.003 to 0.40) power. The mean and standard deviations of these measures were virtually identical between placebo and baseline measurements and within the studied time range. Variables strongly dependent on vagal tone (high-frequency, low-frequency and total power, root-mean-square successive difference, and percentage of differences between adjacent normal cycle intervals >50 ms computed over the entire 24-hour electrocardiographic recording) were highly correlated (r > 0.8). It is concluded that measures of HR variability are stable over short periods of time. Certain time and frequency domain variables are highly correlated and may serve as surrogates for each other, and no placebo effect on these variables is evident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-630
Number of pages5
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Volume68
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 1991

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