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Auton Neurosci. 2006 Jul 30;128(1-2):1-8. Epub 2006 May 30.

Power spectrum analysis and cardiovascular morbidity in anxiety disorders.

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Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Anxiety and Stress Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 4600, Beer-Sheva, Israel.


Spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) and related measures has been shown to be a reliable noninvasive technique enabling quantitative assessment of cardiovascular autonomic regulatory responses to autonomic regulatory mechanisms; it provides a dynamic probe of sympathetic and parasympathetic tone, reflecting the interactions between the two. Over 20 studies reported abnormalities of HRV in anxiety, and patients with heart disease and anxiety are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality. Psychiatric drugs partly correct abnormalities of HRV and, recently, autonomic drugs (beta-blockers) have been studied in anxiety disorders. The authors call for further studies, especially in patients with co-existing anxiety disorders and heart disease, incorporating assessment of HRV.

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