Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Europace. 2006 Jul;8(7):521-9.

Heart rate variability in an ageing population and its association with lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors: results of the SAPALDIA study.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, Steinengraben 49, 4051 Basel, Switzerland.



(i) To report associations between cardiovascular risk factors and heart rate variability (HRV) in a general population and (ii) to provide normal values for various HRV measurements in a healthy European general population sample aged >or=50.


Twenty-four-hour electrocardiograms were recorded in 1742 randomly selected SAPALDIA (Swiss cohort study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults) participants aged >or=50. In multivariate regression analyses, women (n=895) had a 6.1% lower standard deviation of all normal RR (NN) intervals (SDNN), a 11.4% lower total power (TP), and a 27.2% lower low-frequency (LF) power than men (n=847). Per unit increase in BMI, SDNN decreased by 0.7% and TP decreased by 1.2%. Persons with high blood pressure had a 9.2% lower LF than normotensive persons and current smokers a 15.5% lower LF than never smokers. Each hour of heavy physical exercise was associated with a 2.0% increase in SDNN, a 3.6% increase in the high frequency (HF) range power and a 4.2% increase in LF power. Higher levels of uric acid, high-sensitive C-reactive protein and non-HDL-cholesterol were associated with lower TP, HF and LF. Percentiles of TP and LF/HF as a function of age were calculated for an asymptomatic subsample of participants (n=499) free of cardioactive medications.


Heart rate variability in a general population sample shows expected associations with all known cardiovascular risk factors, although not identically for all HRV domains. Together with our percentile estimates for HRV as a function of age, these findings could assist scientists in interpreting 24 h HRV values and factors influencing them in an ageing population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Support Center