Differences in some circadian patterns of cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial infarctions and other adverse vascular events

Chronobiologia. 1994 Jan-Jun;21(1-2):79-88.


Background: Results from unpublished data on the incidence of adverse vascular events and from several published studies are reevaluated chronobiologically.

Methods and results: Cosinor methods indicate 1. a circadian variation in the incidence of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PST), of broadly classified ventricular arrhythmia (VAr), and of atrial fibrillation (AF); 2. a statistically significant difference in the timing of the circadian rhythm of PST and VAr versus that of AF; and 3. a further difference in the timing of these rhythms from that in the incidence of myocardial infarctions (MI). Electrocardiographic records for spans longer than 24h show the extent of day-to-day variability in circadian characteristics of the given patient and indicate the presence of even lower-frequency components, notably along the scale of a week, that may underlie weekly and half-weekly patterns of morbidity and mortality.

Conclusion: Beyond alterations in the about 1-Hz periodicity of the heart, predictable changes along the scales of the day and the week may constitute a clue to the etiopathology of a given condition and provide a basis for treatment timing. The assessment of unfavorable changes in the lower frequency components may provide a lead time long enough to prompt the institution of preventive, rather than curative, intervention.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / epidemiology
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / physiopathology
  • Vascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology