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Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;49(2):132-8.

Correlation between short-term heart rate variability indices and heart rate, blood pressure indices, pressor reactivity to isometric handgrip in healthy young male subjects.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry 605 006.


The purpose of the present study was to determine whether readily measured blood pressure (BP) indices and, responses to autonomic reflex tests could be used as surrogates of short-term heart rate variability (HRV), which is an established marker of autonomic regulation of SA node. Therefore, we examined the correlation between short-term HRV and heart rate (HR), BP indices viz. systolic pressure, diastolic pressure, pulse pressure (PP), and rate-pressure product (RPP), during supine rest and head-up tilt in 17 young healthy normotensive subjects, aged 19.8 +/- 1 yr (mean +/- SD). Three classic autonomic indices viz. Valsalva ratio, HR response to deep breathing and pressor response to isometric handgrip were also determined. We noted two interesting and statistically significant (P < 0.05 in both cases) correlations viz. i) a positive correlation (r = 0.6) between change in RPP during tilt and change in low frequency (LF) RR spectral power expressed in normalized units (LF nu) during tilt, and ii) a negative correlation (r = -0.6) between change in PP during isometric handgrip and LF nu during tilt. The possible physiologic significance of these and other correlations is discussed in this paper. In conclusion, the presence of a statistically significant correlation between RPP, PP and spectral measures of short-term HRV supports a simplistic approach to autonomic assessment, in that, easily measurable BP indices could be used as surrogates of HRV when it is not feasible to determine HRV indices directly. However, the same have to be tested in healthy subjects belonging to various age groups and in patients with conditions known to be associated with autonomic dysregulation.

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