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Indian Journal of Clinical Anatomy and Physiology

Gender comparison of cardiac autonomic functions as measured by heart rate variability in a tertiary care hospital

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Author Details : Smita S. Patil, R H Taklikar, Anant Takalkar, Vinod V Wali

Volume : 3, Issue : 4, Year : 2016

Article Page : 498-502

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Introduction: Heart rate variability (HRV) has been proposed as an indicator of cardiovascular health. Compared to their male counterparts, women are at less risk of coronary heart disease, and of serious arrhythmias, with women lagging behind men in the incidenceof sudden death by 20 years since women have a lower cardiovascular risk, a hypothesis was generated that there exist gender differences in autonomic modulation.
Methods: We studied 100 subjects (50 males and 50 females). Anthropometric parameters like age; height; weight and BMI were measured. The baseline characteristics like resting heart rate; systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were recorded at supine rest for 5 minutes. Using HRV software, recording and analysis of HRV parameters like Total power; Low frequency; Low frequency normalized units; High frequency; High frequency normalized units and Low frequency / High frequency ratio were done.
Results: Frequency domain measures of HRV were compared in age-matched populations of 50 males and 50 females. The mean and standard deviation of the low-frequency spectral components of HRV analyzed as absolute units as well as normalised units were high in males as compared to females (p<0.001), as also the LF/ HF ratio (p<0.001). The present study showed that the measures of HRV Hfnu, Hfms² which are the markers of parasympathetic modulation are more in females relative to their age-matched male counterparts.
Conclusion: The results of the study indicate that gender differences exist in HRV. The finding that gender differences are due to differences in Low frequency/ High frequency ratio, Low frequency normalized units and these parameters are statistically significant higher in males compared to females. The parameter like High frequency normalized units which is a marker of parasympathetic modulation is significantly higher in females Thus heart rate variability can be used as a simple bedside procedure to assess cardiovascular autonomic regulation and also as a simple non invasive tool for research studies for the assessment of the neural control of heart rate and to find out the gender differences.

Heart Rate Variability, Autonomic Nervous System, Cardiovascular disorders, Autonomic modulation, Gender differences

How to cite : Patil S S, Taklikar R H, Takalkar A, Wali V V, Gender comparison of cardiac autonomic functions as measured by heart rate variability in a tertiary care hospital. Indian J Clin Anat Physiol 2016;3(4):498-502

Copyright © 2016 by author(s) and Indian J Clin Anat Physiol. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY-NC 4.0) (