Heart Rate Variability Markers as Correlates of Survival in Recipients of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

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OBJECTIVES:To assess pre-/post-transplantation changes in autonomic tone, as measured by heart rate variability (HRV), among patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and to look at those changes as they relate to posttransplantation survival rates.SAMPLE & SETTING:Data were derived from a sample of 27 English-speaking patients undergoing allogeneic or autologous HCT at Stanford University.METHODS & VARIABLES:A survival analysis using the Kaplan-Meier estimator was employed to explore whether increased HRV would enhance survival probabilities over time among patients undergoing HCT.RESULTS:An increased probability of survival was significantly related to increases in two HRV indexes: root mean square of successive differences and high frequency power.IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING:HRV may be a useful predictor of mortality among patients undergoing HCT. Interventions deliverable by nurses could be used to enhance HRV for patients identified as being at risk for early mortality.

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