Impaired heart rate variability in euthymic bipolar patients

Authors

  • Hagit Cohen,

    1. Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Psychiatry Research Unit, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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  • Zeev Kaplan,

    1. Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Psychiatry Research Unit, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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  • Moshe Kotler,

    1. Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Psychiatry Research Unit, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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  • Irena Mittelman,

    1. Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Psychiatry Research Unit, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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  • Yamima Osher,

    1. Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Psychiatry Research Unit, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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  • Yuly Bersudsky

    1. Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Psychiatry Research Unit, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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Corresponding author: Hagit Cohen, PhD, Anxiety and Stress Research Unit, Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 4600, Beer Sheva, Israel. Fax: 972 8 6401742; e-mail: hagitc@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

Abstract

Background:  Power spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) has recently been shown to be a reliable non-invasive test for quantitative assessment of the central sympathovagal interaction that modulates cardiovascular autonomic function.

Methods:  We studied 39 euthymic bipolar patients and 39 controls, matched for age and sex. A high-resolution electrocardiogram was obtained during complete rest. Spectral analysis of R–R intervals was performed by the fast Fourier transform algorithm.

Results:  Euthymic bipolar patients at rest are characterized by markedly low HRV, independent of specific drug treatments.

Conclusion:  While these results of autonomic stability in euthymic bipolar patients are counter-intuitive, the findings may be important in understanding pathophysiology of bipolar affective illness.

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