[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The most widely accepted marker for stratifying the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in post myocardial infarction patients is a depressed left ventricular function. Left ventricular ejection fractions (EF) of 35% or less increase the risk of sudden death but values between 35 and 40% raise concern. The underlying pathophysiological mechanism is sustained ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation, both associated with increased cardiac repolarization variability. We assessed whether the indices of QT variability from a short-term electrocardiographic (ECG) recording predict sudden death.
A total of 396 subjects with chronic heart failure (CHF) due to post-ischaemic cardiomyopathy, with an EF between 35 and 40% and in NYHA class I, underwent a 5 min ECG recording to calculate the following variables: QT variance (QT(v)), QT normalized for the square of the mean QT (QTVN), and QT variability index (QTVI). Corrected QT (QT(c)) was calculated from a 12-lead ECG recording. All participants were followed for 5 years. A multivariable survival model indicated that a QTVI greater than or equal to the 80th percentile indicated a high risk of SCD [hazards ratio (HR) 4.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5-13.4, P = 0.006] and, though to a lesser extent, a high risk of total mortality (HR 2.4, 95% CI 1.2-4.9, P = 0.017). The model including QTVI as a continuous variable confirmed a similar high risk for SCD (HR 2.9, 95% CI 1.3-6.5, P = 0.01) and for total mortality (HR 2.6, 95% CI 1.3-5.2, P = 0.008).
Although asymptomatic patients with CHF who have a slightly depressed EF are at low risk of sudden death, the category is extraordinarily numerous. The QTVI could be helpful in stratifying the risk of sudden death in this otherwise undertreated population.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2007 · European Heart Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several studies have shown that cardiac-resynchronization therapy (CRT) improves haemodynamic function, cardiac symptoms, and heart rate variability (HRV) and reduces the risk of mortality and sudden death in subjects with chronic heart failure (CHF). In subjects with CHF, power spectral values for the low-frequency (LF) component of RR variability < or =13 ms2, are associated with an increased risk of sudden death.
To assess whether spectral indexes obtained by power spectral analysis of HRV and systolic blood pressure (SBP) variability could predict malignant ventricular arrhythmias in patients with severe CHF treated with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) alone or with ICD+CRT. In addition, changes in non-invasive spectral indices using short-term power spectral analysis of HRV and SBP variability during controlled breathing in 15 patients with CHF treated with an ICD alone and 16 patients receiving ICD+CRT, were assessed pre-treatment and at 1 year.
Arrhythmias necessitating an appropriate ICD shock were more frequent in subjects who had low LF power. CRT improved all spectral components, including LF power.
Low LF power values predict an increased risk of malignant ventricular arrhythmias; after 1 year of CRT most non-spectral and spectral data, including LF power, improved. Whether these improvements lead to better long-term survival in patients with CHF remains unclear.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · European Journal of Heart Failure
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In patients with refractory neurally mediated syncope, tilt training--standing motionless against a wall for increased periods of time per day over one month--can often eliminate recurrent episodes and reduce presyncopal symptoms. We designed dual retrospective and prospective studies to assess cardiovascular autonomic function in subjects with recurrent syncope and identify the most effective length of tilt training between one and three months.
In the retrospective study, before tilt training, and in the prospective study, before and after training, all subjects underwent a recording for short-term spectral analysis of heart rate and systolic blood pressure variability. Before tilt-training, autonomic nervous system function differs in patients with recurrent neurally mediated syncope who respond to tilt training for one month and those who do not. "Responders", patients experiencing no episodes of syncope during the 12-month follow-up, had higher low-frequency power of RR (LF(RR)) (p < 0.05) and LF(RR) in normalized units (NU) (p < 0.001) and lower high-frequency power (HF(RR)) (p < 0.05) and HF(RR)NU (p < 0.001) than "non-responders", patients reporting at least one syncopal episode during the 12-month follow-up. In the retrospective study, no difference was found between spectral data for "non-responders" with positive responses to tilt test with and without nitro derivatives. Prolonging tilt-training to three months increased the number of responders (late-responders) by 80% (p < 0.001) and power spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) before tilt training can identify late-responders by their low LF(RR)NUs (<40) and high HF(RR)Nus (>60). Furthermore in late-responders, tilt training brings about a change in cardiovascular autonomic function: at 3 months, LF(RR)NUs increase and HF(RR)NU diminish.
Power spectral analysis of HRV seems to be a useful tool to preselect patients who are most likely to benefit from prolonged therapy, thus increasing compliance.
No preview · Article · Aug 2006 · International Journal of Cardiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The QT variability index (QTVI) indicates temporal dispersion in myocardial repolarization, and a high QTVI is associated with a propensity for sudden death from malignant ventricular arrhythmias in subjects at high risk. In this study, the authors assessed the effects of free breathing, controlled breathing, and sympathetic stress (tilt) on the QTVI in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) and healthy control subjects. The authors also examined the influence of age on the same variables. To obtain normative data, they calculated 95% confidence intervals for healthy subjects grouped according to age. Under all experimental conditions, the QTVI was larger in the CHF group overall and in the age subsets than in controls. In patients and controls, the QTVI increased significantly during tilt, although no differences were found between the QTVI measured during free and controlled breathing. In healthy controls, the following variables correlated significantly with the QTVI: age and baseline heart rate (P < 0.001). In patients with CHF, aging had no influence on the QTVI. Conclusion: Age, sympathetic stress, and CHF all tend to increase the QTVI and could potentially induce sudden death. Further studies should assess the usefulness of the QTVI as a marker predicting sudden cardiac death under the various conditions of risk.
No preview · Article · Aug 2006 · Translational Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early hypertension is associated with left ventricular diastolic dysfunction due to increased end-diastolic pressure. This increase, through the cardiopulmonary reflexes, can influence autonomic cardiovascular control.
We assessed autonomic nervous system modulation of cardiovascular signals by power spectral analysis of RR interval and systolic arterial pressure variabilities in subjects with recently diagnosed hypertension with or without diastolic dysfunction and in normotensive control subjects.
Both hypertensive groups had higher low-frequency (LF) power expressed in normalized units (NUs) than normotensive controls (p < 0.05; p < 0.001) during controlled breathing at rest. The LF spectral index measured after tilt was greater in hypertensive subjects with diastolic dysfunction than in those without (p < 0.05). LF NUs measured at rest correlated significantly with the E/A wave ratio and after tilt with the E-wave deceleration time.
These results seem to indicate that in subjects with recently diagnosed hypertension sympathetic modulation of the sinus node prevails. During tilt, a maneuver designed to stimulate systemic arterial and cardiopulmonary baroreceptor reflexes, hypertensive subjects with diastolic dysfunction, who presumably also have higher end-diastolic pressures, seem to have greater sympathetic modulation of the sinus node than hypertensive subjects without diastolic dysfunction.
No preview · Article · Jul 2006 · International Journal of Cardiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A decreased LFP (low-frequency power) spectral component of HRV [HR (heart rate) variability] is a risk factor for sudden death in patients with CHF (chronic heart failure). In the present study, we evaluated factors (age, arterial pressures and HR) influencing LFP and HFP (high-frequency power) components in short-term recordings during controlled breathing in patients with CHF or hypertension, and healthy normotensive subjects. In patients with CHF, we also compared LFP values with known markers of sudden death [NYHA (New York Heart Association) class, HR and ejection fraction]. All HRV measures were significantly lower in patients with CHF than in hypertensive and normotensive subjects (P<0.001), and in hypertensive than in normotensive subjects (P<0.05). Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that, in patients with CHF, LFP was inversely associated with NYHA class (beta=-0.5, P<0.0001) and HR (beta=-0.2, P=0.001) and was positively associated with ejection fraction (beta=0.28, P<0.0001). In patients with CHF, LFP remained unchanged with age. In normotensive and hypertensive subjects, HFP decreased with age, but in patients with CHF it did not. In the >/=60<70 and >/=70 years of age subgroups, we found no difference between HFP in the three groups studied. Hence, in normotensives and hypertensives, LFP tended to diminish with age (beta=-0.4, P<0.0001 in normotensives; beta=-0.4, P<0.001 in hypertensives) and was inversely associated with HR (beta=-0.2, P=0.002 in normotensives; beta=-0.3, P=0.002 in hypertensives). Conversely, in patients with CHF, LFP is predominantly influenced by NYHA class, HR and ejection fraction, but not by age. LFP might therefore increase the sensitivity of factors already used in stratifying the risk of sudden death in patients with CHF.