This research was funded by Grant number MH64724 from the National Institute of Mental Health to Javaid I. Sheikh. We are grateful for the administrative support provided by the Research Service of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and the Sponsored Projects Office, Stanford University. We are likewise grateful for the technical support provided by Ned J. Arsenault, Karin Voelker, Tram Nguyen, Janel Lynch, Karyn Skultety, Erika Mozer, Lorraine P. Leskin and Gregory A. Leskin.
Cardiac stability at differing levels of temporal analysis in panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and healthy controls
Article first published online: 16 SEP 2013
Copyright © 2013 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 51, Issue 1, pages 80–87, January 2014
How to Cite
Fisher, A. J. and Woodward, S. H. (2014), Cardiac stability at differing levels of temporal analysis in panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and healthy controls. Psychophysiology, 51: 80–87. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12148
- Issue published online: 11 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 16 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 31 JAN 2013
- National Institute of Mental Health. Grant Number: MH64724
- Heart rate variability;
- Panic disorder;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
The panic disorder (PD) literature provides evidence for both physiologic rigidity and instability as pathognomonic features of this disorder. This ambiguity may be a result of viewing PD at differential levels of temporal analysis. We assessed cardiac variability across three levels of temporal scale in PD patients, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients, and healthy controls. Sixteen healthy controls, 14 PD patients, 23 PTSD patients, and 16 PTSD + PD patients presented for a polysomnogram. Differences were assessed in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), autoregressive stability of heart rate (HR), and the number of nonspecific accelerations in HR over the night. No differences in RSA were found between groups; however, PD patients exhibited significantly lower autoregressive HR stability, and all patients had significantly more HR accelerations than controls. These data reinforce prior findings demonstrating physiologic instability in PD and indicate that prior equivocalities regarding physiologic variability in PD may be due to limited temporal scaling of measurements.