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Int Heart J. 2014;55(1):33-8. Epub 2014 Jan 27.

Time-domain heart rate variability in coronary artery disease patients affected by thyroid dysfunction.

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  • 1Interdepartmental Center of Research in Molecular Medicine (CIRMC), University of Pavia.


Subclinical hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have been recognized as clinical entities with negative effects on the cardiovascular system. Moreover, the effect of treated thyroid dysfunction on parameters associated with the cardiovascular control system has been poorly investigated. In the present study we analyzed time-domain heart rate variability in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients with known thyroid diseases. Twenty-four hour ECG monitoring was performed in 344 patients with coronary artery disease (174 with thyroid dysfunction and 170 without thyroid dysfunction used as a control group), using a 3-channel tape recorder. Time domain parameters of heart rate variability (HRV) were definitely lower both in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism and subclinical hyperthyroidism than in the control group, with statistically significant differences in SDNN, RMSSD, TINN, and mean RR for both subgroups. Furthermore, patients on L-thyroxine treatment and restored euthyroidism had generally higher HRV values than patients with subclinical hypothyroidism, nevertheless SDNN, RMSSD, SDNN index, TINN, and mean RR were significantly lower when compared to those of the control group. Significant differences in HRV were also found between hyperthyroid patients under treatment and control group subjects with respect to RMSSD, TINN, and mean RR values. In conclusion, patients with cardiac disease and known thyroid disease, even when the disease is in the subclinical range or despite treatment, should be regarded as patients at additional risk conveyed by thyroid hormone disturbances.

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