Heart Rate Variability Is Associated with Exercise Capacity in Patients with Cardiac Syndrome X
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Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects the healthiness of autonomic nervous system, which is associated with exercise capacity. We therefore investigated whether HRV could predict the exercise capacity in the adults with cardiac syndrome X (CSX). A total of 238 subjects (57±12 years, 67.8% men), who were diagnosed as CSX by the positive exercise stress test and nearly normal coronary angiogram were enrolled. Power spectrum from the 24-hour recording of heart rate was analyzed in frequency domain using total power (TP) and spectral components of the very low frequency (VLF), low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) ranges. Among the study population, 129 subjects with impaired exercise capacity during the treadmill test had significantly lower HRV indices than those with preserved exercise capacity (≥90% of the age predicted maximal heart rate). After accounting for age, sex, and baseline SBP and heart rate, VLF (odds ratio per 1SD and 95% CI: 2.02, 1.19–3.42), LF (1.67, 1.10–2.55), and TP (1.82, 1.17–2.83) remained significantly associated with preserved exercise capacity. In addition, increased HRV indices were also associated with increased exercise duration, rate-pressure product, and heart rate recovery, independent of age, body mass index, and baseline SBP and heart rate. In subgroup analysis, HRV indices demonstrated similar predictive values related to exercise capacity across various subpopulations, especially in the young. In patients with CSX, HRV was independently associated with exercise capacity, especially in young subjects. The healthiness of autonomic nervous system may have a role in modulating the exercise capacity in patients with CSX.