Heart rate variability and target organ damage in hypertensive patients

Melillo, Paolo and Izzo, Raffaele and De Luca, Nicola and Pecchia, Leandro (2012) Heart rate variability and target organ damage in hypertensive patients. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 12 (Novemb). 11/1-11/11. ISSN 1471-2261

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We evaluated the association between linear standard Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measures and vascular, renal and cardiac target organ damage (TOD).


A retrospective analysis was performed including 200 patients registered in the Regione Campania network (aged 62.4 ± 12, male 64%). HRV analysis was performed by 24-h holter ECG. Renal damage was assessed by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), vascular damage by carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), and cardiac damage by left ventricular mass index.


Significantly lower values of the ratio of low to high frequency power (LF/HF) were found in the patients with moderate or severe eGFR (p-value < 0.001). Similarly, depressed values of indexes of the overall autonomic modulation on heart were found in patients with plaque compared to those with a normal IMT (p-value <0.05). These associations remained significant after adjustment for other factors known to contribute to the development of target organ damage, such as age. Moreover, depressed LF/HF was found also in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy but this association was not significant after adjustment for other factors.


Depressed HRV appeared to be associated with vascular and renal TOD, suggesting the involvement of autonomic imbalance in the TOD. However, as the mechanisms by which abnormal autonomic balance may lead to TOD, and, particularly, to renal organ damage are not clearly known, further prospective studies with longitudinal design are needed to determine the association between HRV and the development of TOD.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2261-12-105
Depositing User: Davies, Mrs Sarah
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2014 08:54
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2016 06:36
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/2311

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