Relationship Between Heart Rate Turbulence and Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, and Number of Ventricular Premature Beats in Coronary Patients

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Heart rate variability (HRV) illustrates regulation of the heart by the autonomic nervous system whereas heart rate turbulence (HRT) is believed to reflect baroreflex sensitivity. The aim of this study was to determine the association between HRT and HRV parameters and the relationship between HRT parameters and heart rate and number of ventricular premature beats (VPBs) used to calculate HRT parameters.

Methods and Results

In 146 patients (117 males and 29 females; mean age 62 years) with coronary artery disease, a 24-hour ECG Holter monitoring was performed to calculate mean heart rate (RR interval), number of VPBs, time- and frequency-domain HRV parameters and two HRT parameters: turbulence onset (TO) and turbulence slope (TS). Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to evaluate the association between tested parameters. Significant correlation between TS and mean RR interval was observed (r = 0.42; p < 0.001), while no association for TO vs. RR interval was found. TS values were significantly higher in patients with less than 10 VPBs/24 hours than in patients with more frequent VPBs. Significant associations between HRT and HRV parameters were found with TS showing stronger correlation with HRV parameters than TO (r value ranging from 0.35 to 0.62 for TS vs. −0.16 to −0.38 for TO).


HRT parameters correlate strongly with HRV parameters indicating that HRT should be considered as a reflection of both baroreceptors response and overall autonomic tone. Heart rate dependence of turbulence slope indicates the need to adjust this parameter for heart rate.

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