Before heart rate (HR) variability can be used for predictive purposes in the clinical setting, day-to-day variation and reproducibility need to be defined as do relations to mean HR. HR variability and mean HR were therefore determined in 2 successive 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiograms obtained from 33 normal subjects (age 34 ± 7 years, group I), and 22 patients with coronary disease and stable congestive heart failure (CHF) (age 59 ± 7 years, group II). Three measures were used: (1) SDANN (standard deviation of all mean 5-minute normal sinus RR intervals in successive 5-minute recording periods over 24 hours); (2) SD (the mean of the standard deviation of all normal sinus RR intervals in successive 5-minute recording periods over 24 hours); and (3) CV (coefficient of variation of the SD measure), a new measure that compensates for HR effects. Group mean HR was higher and HR variability lower in group II than in group I (80 ±10 vs 74 ± 9 beats/min, p < 0.04). Mean group values for HR and HR variability showed good correlations between days 1 and 2 (mean RR, r = 0.89, 0.97; SDANN, r = 0.87, 0.87; SD, r = 0.93, 0.97; CV, r = 0.95, 0.97 in groups I and II, respectively). In contrast, considerable individual day-to-day variation occurred (group I, 0 to 46%; group II, 0 to 51%). Low HR variability values were more consistent than high values. SDANN and SD correlated moderately with HR in both groups (r = 0.50 to 0.64). The CV measure minimizes HR effects on HR variability. In conclusion (1) mean group differences in HR variability between normal subjects and patients with CHF are highly reproducible, but considerable day-to-day variations may occur in some subjects, particularly normal persons with high HR variability; (2) mean HR is higher and HR variability lower in patients with CHF; and (3) mean HR must be considered when interpreting changes in HR variability. The CV measure minimizes this problem.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine