ISSN 2586-0151 (Print)
ISSN 2586-0046 (Online)
Volume 16, Number 2 (2/2020)
Original Article <page. 83-90 >

The Relationship between Heart Rate Variability and Symptoms in Subjects with Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Jinsoo Park, MD1;Sukhoon Kang, MD1,2;Joo Eon Park, MD, PhD3;Jin Hee Choi, MD1;Hyung Seok So, MD1;Kiwon Kim, MD, PhD1; and Hayun Choi, MD1;

1;Department of Psychiatry1, Veteran Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, 2;Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, 3;Department of Psychiatry, Keyo Hospital, Uiwang, Korea

Objective : Heart rate variability (HRV) is known to reflect autonomic nervous system activity. Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are reported to have lower HRVs. We attempted to find HRV indices with head up tilt position that reflect the symptoms well in order to evaluate PTSD symptoms.

Methods : Sixty-seven patients with PTSD and 72 patients without PTSD were assessed using the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. HRV was measured in the head-up tilt position. We collected data regarding heart rate (HR), standard deviation of the NN intervals (SDNN), the square root of the mean squared differences of successive NN intervals (RMSSD), log low-frequency (LNLF) and log high-frequency (LNHF).

Results : The value of LNHF was different according to presence or absence of PTSD after head-up tilt position. In the findings of the association between PTSD symptoms and HRV indices as based on head-up tilt, LNHF had a significant correlation with the total score of PCL-5.

Conclusion : The reduction of the high-frequency component of HRVs in the PTSD group might reflect more PTSD symptoms.


Key words : Posttraumatic stress disorder;Heart rate variability;PTSD Checklist for DSM-5.

Anxiety and Mood

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