Heart rate variability today

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. Nov-Dec 2012;55(3):321-31. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2012.09.001.


Heart rate variability (HRV) non-invasively assesses the activity of the autonomic nervous system. During the past 30 years, an increasing number of studies have related the imbalance of the autonomic nervous system (as assessed by HRV) to several pathophysiogical conditions, particularly in the setting of cardiovascular disease. Sudden death, coronary artery disease, heart failure, or merely cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension) are the best-known clinical circumstances that can affect and/or be affected by the autonomic nervous system. Analyses of HRV variables have been proposed as a component of the clinical evaluation for patient risk stratification due to its independent prognostic information. Yet the potential for HRV to be used widely in clinical practice remains to be established.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy / methods*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans