Published online Sep 26, 2022. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v10.i27.9680
Peer-review started: April 6, 2022
First decision: June 16, 2022
Revised: July 14, 2022
Accepted: August 15, 2022
Article in press: August 15, 2022
Published online: September 26, 2022
Heart rate variability (HRV) and pulse-wave velocity (PWV), indicators of cardiac function, are altered in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), suggesting that autonomic cardiac function and arterial stiffness may underlie the high risk of cardiovascular complications in these patients. No study has simultaneously investigated HRV and PWV in the same patients.
To evaluate cardiovascular complications in SCI patients by comparing HRV and PWV between patients with and without SCI.
In this cross-sectional pilot study, patients with (n = 60) and without SCI (n = 60) were recruited from December 7, 2019 to January 21, 2020. Each participant received a five-minute assessment of HRV and the cardiovascular system using the Medicore HRV Analyzer SA-3000P. Differences in HRV and PWV parameters between participants with and without SCI were statistically examined.
We observed a significant difference between participants with and without SCI with respect to the standard deviation of all normal-to-normal intervals, square root of the mean sum of squared successive risk ratio interval differences, physical stress index, total power, very-low frequency, low frequency, high frequency, and arterial elasticity.
Patients with SCI have weaker sympathetic and parasympathetic activity as well as lower arterial elasticity compared to those without, suggesting that SCI may increase cardiac function loading.
Core Tip: Noninvasive, simultaneous assessment of heart rate variability and pulse-wave velocity showed that patients with spinal cord injury have weaker sympathetic and parasympathetic activity and lower arterial elasticity compared to those without. These findings indicate that increased cardiac function loading may underlie the high risk of cardiovascular complications in patients with spinal cord injury. Continuous dynamic monitoring of heart rate variability and pulse-wave velocity could be integrated into care programs for spinal cord injury patients to inform the development of measures to reduce stress and increase vitality.