Rheumatology International

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 198–202 | Cite as

Heart rate variability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

  • Harun Evrengül
  • Dursun Dursunoglu
  • Veli Cobankara
  • Bülent Polat
  • Deniz Seleci
  • Sibel Kabukçu
  • Asuman Kaftan
  • Ender Semiz
  • Mustafa Kilic
Original Article


Heart rate variability (HRV) is a useful tool for the detection of sympathetic-parasympathetic balance in the autonomic nervous system. Autonomic nervous system involvement in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has rarely been studied and has shown conflicting results. Our purpose was to determine if HRV showed changes in patients with RA in comparison with the normal population. Short-term analysis of HRV was performed for time-domain frequency in 42 patients with RA and 44 matched controls. In this analysis, patients displayed lower standard deviation of the mean than healthy subjects (P<0.0001). Patients tended to display higher pNN50 and root-mean-square of successive difference values than did healthy subjects, but these differences were not statistically significant (P>0.05). In frequency domain analysis, the spectral measures of HRV showed reduced high-frequency (HF) values and an higher low-frequency (LF) values; as a result, the ratio between low and high frequencies (LF/HF), representative of sympathovagal modulation, was significantly increased (P=0.001, P=0.012, and P=0.003, respectively). Our data suggest an increase in sympathetic control of the heart rate in patients with RA. This increased sympathetic activity could play a key role in the development of ventricular tachyarrhythmias in RA and may be related to the higher incidence of sudden death in this disorder.


Autonomic disease Heart rate variability Rheumatoid arthritis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harun Evrengül
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dursun Dursunoglu
    • 1
  • Veli Cobankara
    • 2
  • Bülent Polat
    • 1
  • Deniz Seleci
    • 1
  • Sibel Kabukçu
    • 2
  • Asuman Kaftan
    • 1
  • Ender Semiz
    • 1
  • Mustafa Kilic
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CardiologyPamukkale University School of MedicineDenizliTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicinePamukkale University School of MedicineDenizliTurkey
  3. 3.Yunus Emre Mh12/7 Kýnýklý DenizliTurkey

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