Heart rate variability in congenital central hypoventilation syndrome

Pediatr Res. 1992 Mar;31(3):291-6. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199203000-00020.


Heart rate variability was assessed in 12 patients with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) and in age- and sex-matched controls using SD of time intervals between R waves (R-R intervals), R-R interval histograms, spectral analysis, and Poincaré plots of sequential R-R intervals over a 24-h period using ambulatory monitoring. Mean heart rates in patients with CCHS were 103.3 +/- 17.7 SD and in controls were 98.8 +/- 21.6 SD (p greater than 0.5, NS). SD analysis of R-R intervals showed similar results in both groups (CCHS 102.2 +/- 36.0 ms versus controls 126.1 +/- 43.3 ms; p greater than 0.1, NS). Spectral analysis revealed that, for similar epochs sampled during quiet sleep and wakefulness, the ratios of low-frequency band to high-frequency band spectral power were increased for 11 of 12 patients with CCHS during sleep, whereas a decrease in these ratios was consistently observed in all controls during comparable sleep states (chi 2 = 20.31; p less than 0.000007). During wakefulness, the ratios of low-frequency band to high-frequency band spectral power were similar in both patients with CCHS and controls. Poincaré plots displayed significantly reduced beat-to-beat changes at slower heart rates in the CCHS patients (chi 2 = 24.0; p less than 0.000001). The scatter of points in CCHS Poincaré plots was easily distinguished from controls. All CCHS patients showed disturbed variability with one or more measures. The changes in moment-to-moment heart rate variability suggest that, in addition to a loss of ventilatory control, CCHS patients exhibit a dysfunction in autonomic nervous system control of the heart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / congenital*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*