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Am J Cardiol. 2005 Jun 15;95(12):1474-7.

Relation of anemia to low heart rate variability in patients with coronary heart disease (from the Heart and Soul study).

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Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


We examined the association between anemia (hemoglobin < or =12 g/dl) and 6 indexes of heart rate variability (HRV) as measured by 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography in a cross-sectional study of 874 outpatients who had stable coronary heart disease. Of 90 participants who had anemia, 29% to 41% had low HRV, defined as the lowest quartile of each HRV index, compared with 23% to 25% of the 784 participants who did not have anemia (comparison p values <0.05 for all HRV indexes except high-frequency power). With the exception of high-frequency power, each 1 g/dl decrease in hemoglobin was associated with increased odds of having low HRV. This association remained strong after adjustment for potential confounding variables, including ischemia, left ventricular mass, left ventricular ejection fraction, and diastolic dysfunction. Thus, anemia is associated with low HRV in ambulatory patients who have stable coronary heart disease. Low HRV could potentially mediate the association of anemia with increased cardiac risk.

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