Document Detail

Derangement of heart rate variability during a catastrophic earthquake: a possible mechanism for increased heart attacks.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11816627     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
At 1:47 AM on September 21, 1999, the middle part of Taiwan was struck by a major earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale. It has been shown that the mental stress caused by an earthquake could lead to a short- or long-term increase in frequency of cardiac death probably through activation of the sympathetic nervous system. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of emotional stress on the autonomic system during an actual earthquake. Fifteen patients receiving a 24-hour Holter ECG study starting from 10+/-4 hours before the onset of the earthquake were included for the analysis of time- and frequency-domains of heart rate variability (HRV) at several time periods. A 24-hour Holter study recorded 2-6 months before the earthquake in 30 age- and sex-matched subjects served as the control group. Heart rate and the low frequency (LF) to high frequency (HF) ratio increased significantly after the earthquake and were attributed mainly to the withdrawal of the high frequency component (parasympathetic activity) of HRV. Sympathetic activation was blunted in elderly subjects > 60 years old. The concomitant ST-T depression observed in the Holter study correlated with a higher increment of LF as compared to HF components. The changes observed in HRV recovered completely 40 minutes following the earthquake. The derangement of HRV results from the withdrawal of the parasympathetic component and the arousal of sympathetic activity by the stressful earthquake. However, this autonomic derangement returned towards normal 40 minutes following the earthquake.
L Y Lin; C C Wu; Y B Liu; Y L Ho; C S Liau; Y T Lee
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Pacing and clinical electrophysiology : PACE     Volume:  24     ISSN:  0147-8389     ISO Abbreviation:  Pacing Clin Electrophysiol     Publication Date:  2001 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-12-05     Completed Date:  2002-04-16     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7803944     Medline TA:  Pacing Clin Electrophysiol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1596-601     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei.
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MeSH Terms
Angina Pectoris / etiology
Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
Heart Rate / physiology*
Life Change Events
Middle Aged
Myocardial Infarction / etiology
Stress, Psychological / complications,  physiopathology*
Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
Time Factors

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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