Heart rate variability (HRV) and its circadian rhythm were evaluated in 22 patients with treated hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy in whom coronary artery disease was excluded by stress thallium or angiography. By using 24-hour Holter monitoring, HRV and its spectral components were measured. Findings were compared with 11 age-matched normal controls. The difference between mean R-R intervals during sleep (11 pm to 7 am) and while awake (9 am to 9 pm) (73 ± 33 vs 263 ± 63 msec, p < 0.0001) and the mean 24-hour SD of the R-R intervals (55 ± 6.3 vs 93 ± 11, p < 0.0001) were lower among the hypertensive patients compared with controls. The percentage of difference between successive R-R intervals that exceeded 50 msec, a measure of parasympathetic tone, was also lower among the hypertensive patients (6.8 ± 7.1 vs 13.6 ± 8.9, p < 0.002); it increased at night and decreased during the day among the controls, and this circadian rhythm was blunted among the patients. Spectral analysis showed that power in the high-frequency range (0.15 to 0.40 Hz) was lower among the hypertensive patients during 21 of 24 hours but that the difference was statistically significant only during 9 hours (p ranging from <0.05 to 0.009). Power in the low-frequency range (0.04 to 015 Hz) was lower at night, increased in the morning, and higher during the day among controls; this circadian rhythm was absent among hypertensive patients. Among hypertensive patients free of coronary artery disease, HRV is decreased with a partial withdrawal of parasympathetic tone, and the circadian rhythm of sympathetic/parasympathetic tone is altered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine