Cardiac autonomic balance versus cardiac regulatory capacity

Psychophysiology. 2008 Jul;45(4):643-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2008.00652.x. Epub 2008 Feb 11.


The concept of autonomic balance views autonomic states along a bipolar continuum from sympathetic (S) to parasympathetic (P) dominance, whereas regulatory capacity models emphasize overall autonomic flexibility as a marker of the capacity for regulation. These two concepts were evaluated for their utility in characterizing patterns of autonomic control. Measures of P (high frequency heart rate variability, HF) and S (preejection period, PEP) cardiac control were obtained. A measure of cardiac autonomic balance (CAB) was derived as the difference in the normalized P index minus the S index, and a measure of cardiac autonomic regulation (CAR) was derived as the normalized P index plus the S index. Results reveal that CAR, but not CAB, was a significant predictor of the prior occurrence of a myocardial infarction, net of demographic and other variables, whereas CAB, but not CAR, was a significant predictor of concurrent diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart / innervation*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology