Predictors of heart rate variability and its prognostic significance in chronic kidney disease

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2012 Feb;27(2):700-9. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfr340. Epub 2011 Sep 12.


Background: Heart rate variability (HRV), a noninvasive measure of autonomic dysfunction and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), has not been systematically studied in nondialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Methods: HRV was assessed using 24-h Holter monitoring in 305 subjects from the Renal Research Institute-CKD Study, a four-center prospective cohort of CKD (Stages 3-5). Multiple linear regression was used to assess predictors of HRV (both time and frequency domain) and Cox regression used to predict outcomes of CVD, composite of CVD/death and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Results: A total of 47 CVD, 67 ESRD and 24 death events occurred over a median follow-up of 2.7 years. Lower HRV was significantly associated with older age, female gender, diabetes, higher heart rate, C-reactive protein and phosphorus, lower serum albumin and Stage 5 CKD. Lower HRV (mostly frequency domain) was significantly associated with higher risk of CVD and the composite end point of CVD or death. Significantly, lower HRV (frequency domain) was associated with higher risk of progression to ESRD, although this effect was relatively weaker.

Conclusions: This study draws attention to the importance of HRV as a relatively under recognized predictor of adverse cardiovascular and renal outcomes in patients with nondialysis CKD. Whether interventions that improve HRV will improve these outcomes in this high-risk population deserves further study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / epidemiology*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Cause of Death*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Disease Progression
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Analysis