Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 1703–1708 | Cite as

Cardiac Autonomic Function in the First Hours of Postnatal Life: An Observational Cross-Sectional Study in Term Neonates

  • Leva A. Shayani
  • Carlos J. da Cruz
  • Luiz Guilherme G. Porto
  • Guilherme E. MolinaEmail author
Original Article


The aim of this study was to evaluate heart rate variability (HRV) within the first hours of extrauterine life in term neonates. HRV at 2-h and 14-h postpartum were compared by means of time domains (iRR, SDNN, and rMSSD); frequency domains (TP, LF, HF, and LF/HF ratio); and Poincare’s Plot (SD1 and SD2) indices of HRV in 27 healthy, male, term newborns (NBs) born of elective cesarean delivery. Within 14 h after birth, the mean of the iRRs increased (Δ% = 4.4, p < 0.001) as well as parasympathetic indices (rMSSD: Δ% = 32.6; p < 0.03; HF: Δ% = 43.6; p < 0.00; SD1: Δ% = 32.6, p < 0.03). Respiratory rate (RR) decreased (RR: 2 h = 48 (43–55) cycle/min vs. 14 h = 45 (40–48) cycle/min p < 0.01). We concluded that within the first 14 h of birth, cardiac autonomic adjustments are characterized by an increase in parasympathetic activity. Concurrently, there were no significant changes observed in all other HRV indices in healthy, male, term neonates, and born of elective cesarean delivery.


Heart rate variability Newborn Term birth Autonomic nervous system Parasympathetic activity 



The authors are gratefully acknowledged to the Neonatology team from Hospital Anchieta, by their valuable technical assistance.

Author Contributions

Substantial contributions to conception and design, and acquisition of data by LAS and GEM. Drafting the article or revising it critically by CJC, LGGP, and GEM. Final approval of the version to be published by LAS, CJC, LGGP, and GEM.


No financial assistance was received in support of the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial or other conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Faculty of Physical EducationUniversity of BrasiliaBrasiliaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Environmental HealthHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology ProgramBostonUSA

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