Many studies have demonstrated that cirrhosis is frequently associated with autonomic dysfunction.
Dr Melih Karincaoglu and colleagues from Turkey tested autonomic dysfunction in cirrhotic patients by analyzing heart rate variability.
The investigators determined whether or not the degree of autonomic dysfunction is correlated with the severity of disease.
The team also compared the changes of heart rate variability between survivor and nonsurvivor groups after 2-year follow-up periods.
Heart rate variability was analyzed using 24-hour ECG recording in 30 cirrhotic patients and 28 normal controls.
The investigators measured changes in heart rate variability parameters, which included mean normal-to-normal, and interbeat intervals.
Standard deviation of all normal-to-normal intervals, standard deviation of the average of normal-to-normal intervals for each 5-min period over 24 hours was also measured.
|Time-domain measures of heart rate variability were reduced with cirrhosis|
|Digestive Diseases & Sciences|
The team evaluated root mean square succesive differences, and percentage of adjacent normal-to-normal intervals that are more than 50 msec apart.
The cirrhotic patients were evaluated according to Child-Pugh classification scores as markers of the disease severity.
The investigators found that time-domain measures of heart rate variability in cirrhotic patients were significantly reduced compared with those in the control group.
The team observed that severity of disease was associated with reduced heart rate variability measures.
After the 2-year follow-up periods, heart rate variability measurements in cirrhotic patients were significantly lower in nonsurvivors than in survivors.
Dr Karincaoglu's team concludes, “Increasing severity of cirrhosis is associated with a reduction in heart rate variability.”
“This finding may be an indicator of poor prognosis and mortality for cirrhosis.”