Article

Heart rate variability study of childhood anxiety disorders

Consultant Psychiatrist, A Beautiful Mind Clinic, New Delhi, India.
Journal of cardiovascular disease research 04/2011; 2(2):115-22. DOI: 10.4103/0975-3583.83040
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The current study aims at assessment of heart rate variability among children and adolescents with childhood anxiety disorder, using the case-control design.
The study was carried out at a tertiary care multispecialty hospital. It included 34 children and adolescents with diagnosis of childhood anxiety disorder, in the age range of eight to eighteen years, and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Heart-rate variability was studied using the standard protocol.
Significantly reduced variability of the heart rate was observed in both the time as well as frequency domains in the disorder group as compared to the control group. These findings indicate decreases in the sympathetic and parasympathetic activity in the disorder group, thus representing diminished physiological variability at rest.
The notion of autonomic inflexibility, as seen in the current study, has important implications for stability in biological systems. The loss of variability in the physiological systems in general, and in the cardiovascular system in particular, has an association with a number of diseases and dysfunctions.

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