Circadian Patterns of Heart Rate Turbulence, Heart Rate Variability and Their Relationship

Hung Yi Chen


Background: Heart rate variability (HRV) is an established tool for studying cardiac autonomic activity over time, while heart rate turbulence (HRT) is a recent method used to assess autonomic dysfunction. However, there are different autonomic tones at different times of a day. This study aimed to examine the effect of circadian change of autonomic tone on heart rate turbulence and variability, and determine any relationship between them based on circadian variations.

Methods: Twenty-four-hour Holter recordings from 35 subjects with structurally normal heart were done, and HRV and HRT parameters of turbulence onset (TO) and turbulence slope (TS) were calculated. The 24-hour circadian patterns of these parameters and correlation analysis between them were performed.

Results: There were conspicuous diurnal oscillations in TS and HRV parameters, with less prominent variation in TO. TS and high frequency power (HF) shared the similar oscillation patterns in a day. Comparing HRT and HRV based on circadian variation, TS showed positive correlations with HF and low frequency power (LF) to a reasonable degree, while there was an inverse correlation between TS and LF/HF.

Conclusions: Circadian change of TS values throughout the day is more prominent than TO. It also presents as an autonomic activity more than TO. The relationships between HRV and HRT persist independently on the time of a day.

Cardiol Res. 2011;2(3):112-118


Heart rate turbulence; Heart rate variability; Circadian variation

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