The role of wearable sensors and wireless technologies for the assessment of heart rate variability in anorexia nervosa
Bradycardia and abnormal cardiac autonomic function are related to increased mortality in anorexia nervosa (AN). The aim of this study was to assess heart rate (HR) and HR variability of young adolescents with AN as compared to controls by means of wearable sensors and wireless technologies.
The ECG signal was recorded in 27 AN girls and 15 healthy girls at rest using a wearable chest strap. The tachogram, the mean intervals between R peaks (meanRR), the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD), the power of low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) bands and the LF/HF ratio were assessed.
All AN girls showed a reduced HR and an increased meanRR and RMSSD. An HF increase, a LF decrease, and a LF/HF reduction indicated a prevalence of the parasympathetic on sympathetic activity.
The instruments used in this pilot study were feasible, unobtrusive and extremely suitable in AN subjects who are burdened by high incidence of cardiovascular mortality; their application could open to new approaches of vital signs monitoring in hospitals as well as in home settings.