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Am J Cardiol. 1990 Nov 1;66(15):1049-54.

Circadian rhythm of heart rate variability after acute myocardial infarction and its influence on the prognostic value of heart rate variability.

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Department of Cardiological Sciences, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, England.


This study examined heart rate (HR) variability in patients surviving acute myocardial infarction (AMI) to find the optimum time and duration of recording of the ambulatory electrocardiogram for the prediction of the risk of sudden cardiac death, or serious arrhythmic events, or both. Twenty patients (group I) who initially survived an AMI but later experienced serious events (death or symptomatic sustained ventricular tachycardia) during a 6-month follow-up were compared with 20 patients (group II) who remained free of complications for greater than 6 months after discharge. Groups I and II were matched with regard to age, gender, infarct site, ejection fraction, and beta-blocker treatment. HR variability was assessed in the 24-hour electrocardiograms recorded during the first 2 weeks after an AMI and in various portions of the complete 24-hour recording, with both the beginning and the length of the analyzed portion varied by 20 minutes (a total of 5,113 possibilities). The maximum reduction of HR variability in group I patients was systematically found when assessing HR variability in recordings starting approximately at 6 A.M. and lasting for approximately 8 hours. In the low-risk patient, the diurnal rhythm of HR variability is more marked than in the high-risk patient and the long-term components of HR variability due to the diurnal variation must be included in the measurement of HR variability when using it as a long-term predictor of risk from arrhythmic events after an AMI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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