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J Feline Med Surg. 2005 Jun;7(3):195-202.

Heart rate and heart rate variability of healthy cats in home and hospital environments.

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  • 1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.


To investigate heart rate and its variability, a telemetry device was affixed to 16 healthy, young cats. Prior to inclusion in the study, cats were subject to echocardiographic examination. The heart rate (HR) when cats were restrained for echocardiography (HR(r)) was calculated from 4-5 consecutive RR intervals obtained from a simultaneously recorded electrocardiogram. Electrocardiographic data were then acquired by telemetry in a quiet room in the veterinary hospital (VTH) and later, in the owner's home (home). The ambulatory data were digitally sampled and the RR interval tachogram from a 4 min epoch subject to Fast Fourier Transform to yield measures of heart rate variability (HRV). Sinus arrhythmia was often observed in resting cats. Heart rates (bpm) expressed as mean (+/-SD) were: HRr: 187 (+/-25), HRVTH: 150 (+/-23), HR(home): 132 (+/-19); each of these rates was significantly different from the others. Significant differences in profiles of HRV suggested that sympathetic tone was higher (and parasympathetic tone lower) when cats were in the hospital.

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