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Heart rate variability during sleep and sleep apnoea in a population based study of 387 women
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology. (Lungmedicin och allergologi)
2009 (English)In: Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, ISSN 1475-0961, E-ISSN 1475-097X, Vol. 29, no 4, 309-315 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Increased sympathetic activity during sleep has been suggested as a link between obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of autonomic effect on the heart. Different parameters have been associated with sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. We have studied HRV in different sleep stages and related the HRV-pattern to sleep apnoea in a population-based sample of 387 women. We investigated the HRV-parameters standard deviation of all R-R intervals (SDNN), root of the averaged square of successive differences (RMSSD), low frequency component (LF), high frequency component (HF), ratio of low frequency component to high frequency component LF/HF and VSAI [variation in sympathetic activity between rapid eye movement (REM) and slow wave sleep, defined as LF(REM)-LF(SWS)]. The HRV-parameters were compared with the results of a full-night polysomnography. Hourly incidence of obstructive episodes was used for classifying the subjects into four apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI)-groups (<5, > or =5 and <15, 15-30 and >30 events). Individual sleep stages were analysed by pooling all recordings. Women with high AHI had higher heart rate and LF/HF ratio. In subjects with AHI >30, LF/HF ratio however dropped to same level as with AHI <5. Subjects with high AHI had low VSAI. Levels of SDNN, LF and LF/HF ratio during REM and light sleep were similar to wakefulness. In slow wave sleep the parameters decreased. In conclusion, moderately increased prevalence of obstructive apnoeas was associated with signs of higher sympathetic activity. High AHI was however associated with a HRV-pattern suggestive of depressed sympathetic drive and lowered ability to increase it during REM.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 29, no 4, 309-315 p.
Keyword [en]
autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability, obstructive sleep apnoea, sleep stages, snoring
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-124368DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2009.00873.xISI: 000266874200010PubMedID: 19453563OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-124368DiVA: diva2:317438
Available from: 2010-05-03 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2010-07-26Bibliographically approved

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