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


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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Available from: Yatan Pal Singh Balhara, Mar 08, 2014
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    • "Similarly, restricted vagal flexibility was found in anxious children (Greaves-Lord et al., 2010; Monk et al., 2001). Also, elevated HR levels were reported by studies on children with anxiety disorders (Henje Blom et al., 2010; Sharma et al., 2011; Bakker et al., 2009; Yeragani et al., 2001). In another study, children with SP showed chronically elevated HR levels throughout the whole laboratory session, suggesting that these patients might have a more generalized autonomic hyperreactivity (Krämer et al., 2012, Kossowsky et al. (2012) reported that children with Contents lists available at ScienceDirect journal homepage: "
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    • "Contrary to the first hypothesis, no differences at baseline in HR and RSA between anxious and nonanxious children were found. This stands in contrast to some previous studies (Krämer et al., 2012; Monk et al., 2001; Schmitz et al., 2011; Sharma et al., 2011a), however, many of these studies also reported higher levels of state anxiety in anxious versus nonanxious children (Krämer et al., 2012; Schmitz et al., 2011). Although no measure of state anxiety was obtained during the baseline condition in the present study, there was a long acclimation period (approximately 45 min). "
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