Heart rate variability as a biomarker of functional outcomes in persons with acquired brain injury: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Yejin Lee, Ryan J. Walsh, Mandy W.M. Fong, Marek Sykora, Michelle M. Doering, Alex W.K. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This review aimed to quantify correlations between heart rate variability (HRV) and functional outcomes after acquired brain injury (ABI). We conducted a literature search from inception to January 2020 via electronic databases, using search terms with HRV, ABI, and functional outcomes. Meta-analyses included 16 studies with 906 persons with ABI. Results demonstrated significant associations: Low frequency (LF) (r = −0.28) and SDNN (r = −0.33) with neurological function; LF (r = −0.33), High frequency (HF) (r = −0.22), SDNN (r = −0.22), and RMSSD (r = −0.23) with emotional function; and LF (r = 0.34), HF (r = 0.41 to 0.43), SDNN (r = 0.43 to 0.51), and RMSSD (r = 0.46) with behavioral function. Results indicate that higher HRV is related to better neurological, emotional, and behavioral functions after ABI. In addition, persons with stroke showed lower HF (SMD = −0.50) and SDNN (SMD = −0.75) than healthy controls. The findings support the use of HRV as a biomarker to facilitate precise monitoring of post-ABI functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-754
Number of pages18
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume131
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Biomarker
  • Brain injuries
  • Functional outcomes
  • Heart rate variability
  • Meta-analysis
  • Outcome assessment (health care)
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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