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Biol Psychol. 2016 Dec;121(Pt A):91-98. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.10.008. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

Heart rate variability: Pre-deployment predictor of post-deployment PTSD symptoms.

Author information

1
Center for Mental Health Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States; South Central Mental Illness Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States; Division of Health Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, 72205, United States. Electronic address: jmpyne@uams.edu.
2
South Central Mental Illness Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States; Southeastern Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (629/11F), PO Box 61011, New Orleans, LA 70161, United States, United States; Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, United States.
3
Virtual Reality Medical Centers, 9565 Waples Street, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92121, United States.
4
Office of the State Surgeon, Virginia Army National Guard, BLDG 1310, Ft. Pickett, Blackstone VA, 23824, United States.
5
Center for Mental Health Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States; South Central Mental Illness Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States.
6
Division of Health Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, 72205, United States.
7
Center for Mental Health Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States.
8
Center for Mental Health Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States; South Central Mental Illness Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, 72114, United States; Division of Health Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, 72205, United States.
9
Department of Biostatistics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, 72205, United States.
10
Ease interactive, Inc., San Diego, CA, United States.
11
Alliant International University, 10455 Pomerado Road, San Diego, CA 92131, United States.
12
National Center for PTSD, US Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Psychiatry, University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI 96819, United States.
13
Institute of HeartMath, 14700 West Park Ave., Boulder Creek, CA 95006, United States.

Abstract

Heart rate variability is a physiological measure associated with autonomic nervous system activity. This study hypothesized that lower pre-deployment HRV would be associated with higher post-deployment post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Three-hundred-forty-three Army National Guard soldiers enrolled in the Warriors Achieving Resilience (WAR) study were analyzed. The primary outcome was PTSD symptom severity using the PTSD Checklist - Military version (PCL) measured at baseline, 3- and 12-month post-deployment. Heart rate variability predictor variables included: high frequency power (HF) and standard deviation of the normal cardiac inter-beat interval (SDNN). Generalized linear mixed models revealed that the pre-deployment PCL*ln(HF) interaction term was significant (p<0.0001). Pre-deployment SDNN was not a significant predictor of post-deployment PCL. Covariates included age, pre-deployment PCL, race/ethnicity, marital status, tobacco use, childhood abuse, pre-deployment traumatic brain injury, and previous combat zone deployment. Pre-deployment heart rate variability predicts post-deployment PTSD symptoms in the context of higher pre-deployment PCL scores.

KEYWORDS:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); combat stress; heart rate variability; longitudinal; military; prediction; risk factors

PMID:
27773678
PMCID:
PMC5335901
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.10.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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