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Clinical Investigations: CARDIOLOGY |

Postural Response of Low-Frequency Component of Heart Rate Variability Is an Increased Risk for Mortality in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease*

Jun-ichiro Hayano, MD, FCCP; Seiji Mukai, MD; Hidekatsu Fukuta, MD; Seiichiro Sakata, MD; Nobuyuki Ohte, MD; Genjiro Kimura, MD
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*From the Third Department of Internal Medicine, Nagoya City University Medical School, Nagoya, Japan.

Correspondence to: Jun-ichiro Hayano, MD, Third Department of Internal Medicine, Nagoya City University Medical School, 1 Kawasumi Mizuho-cho Mizuho-ku, Nagoya 467-8601, Japan; e-mail: hayano@med.nagoya-cu.ac.jp



Chest. 2001;120(6):1942-1952. doi:10.1378/chest.120.6.1942
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Study objectives: We examined whether autonomic functions assessed by heart rate variability (HRV) during standardized head-up tilt testing (HUTT) predict risk for death in stable patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).

Design and setting: Retrospective cohort study in medium-sized university general hospital.

Measurements and results: In a cohort of 250 patients with CAD who were undergoing elective coronary angiography, we analyzed HRV during standardized HUTT under paced breathing with discontinuation of treatment with all medications. During a subsequent mean follow-up period of 99 months, there were 13 cardiac deaths and 12 noncardiac deaths. Cox regression analysis adjusted for cardiovascular risks revealed that increased postural change (supine to upright) in the power of low-frequency component (LF) power predicted an increased risk for cardiac death (relative risk[ per 1-ln ms2 increment], 4.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.64 to 11.6), while neither the high-frequency component nor its response to HUTT predicted any form of death. When the patients were trichotomized by the level of postural LF change (large drop,≤ − 0.6 ln[ms2]; small drop and rise, > 0 ln[ms2]), the three groups did not differ in terms of clinical features or CAD severity at baseline or coronary interventions during the follow-up period; however, the 8-year cardiac mortality rates were 0%, 6%, and 12%, respectively (p = 0.008 [log rank test]). Additionally, the difference was enhanced when analyzed excluding 64 patients who had been treated with a β-blocker during the follow-up period (0%, 7%, and 15%, respectively; p = 0.006[ log rank test]).

Conclusions: The postural response of HRV predicts the risk for death in patients with CAD. Postural LF increase (LF rise), in particular, is an independent risk factor for cardiac death.

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