Liver, Pancreas and Biliary Tract| Volume 51, ISSUE 5, P695-702, May 2019

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Which heart rate variability index is an independent predictor of mortality in cirrhosis?

Published:September 24, 2018DOI:



      Liver cirrhosis is associated with reduced heart rate variability (HRV), which indicates impaired integrity of cardiovascular control in this patient population. There are several different indices for HRV quantification. The present study was designed to: 1) determine which of the HRV indices is best at predicting mortality in patients with cirrhosis; 2) verify if such ability to predict mortality is independent of the severity of hepatic failure.


      Ten minutes electrocardiogram was recorded in 74 patients with cirrhosis. Heart rate fluctuations were quantified using statistical, geometrical and non-linear analysis. The patients were followed-up for 18 months and information was collected on the occurrence of death/liver transplantation.


      During the follow-up period, 24 patients (32%) died or were transplanted for hepatic decompensation. Cox’s regression analysis showed that SDNN (total HRV), cSDNN (corrected SDNN), SD1 (short-term HRV), SD2 (long-terms HRV) and spectral indices could predict survival in these patients. However, only SD2 and cSDNN were shown to be independent of MELD in predicting survival. The prognostic value of HRV indices was independent of age, gender, use of beta blockers, and the aetiology of liver disease.


      Two HRV indices were identified that could predict mortality in patients with cirrhosis, independently of MELD. These indices are potentially useful tools for survival prediction.


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