Advertisement

Relation of High Heart Rate Variability to Healthy Longevity

Published:February 22, 2010DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2009.12.022
      The population's aging underscores the need to understand the process and define the physiologic markers predictive of healthy longevity. The findings that aging is associated with a progressive decrease in heart rate variability (HRV), an index of autonomic function, suggests that longevity might depend on preservation of autonomic function. However, little is known about late life changes. We assessed the relation between autonomic function and longevity by a cross-sectional study of HRV of 344 healthy subjects, 10 to 99 years old. The HRV was determined from 24-hour Holter records, using 4 time domain measures of HRV (the root mean square of the successive normal sinus RR interval difference [rMSSD], percentage of successive normal sinus RR intervals >50 ms [pNN50], standard deviation of all normal sinus RR intervals during a 24-hour period [SDNN], and standard deviation of the averaged normal sinus RR intervals for all 5-minute segments [SDANN]). Autonomic modulation of the 4 measures differs, permitting distinctions between changes in HRV–parasympathetic function, using rMSSD and pNN50, and HRV–sympathetic function using SDNN and SDANN. Decade values were compared using analysis of variance and t-multiple comparison testing. The HRV of all measures decreases rapidly from the second to fifth decades. It then slows. The HRV–sympathetic function continues to decrease throughout life. In contrast, the decrease in HRV–parasympathetic function reaches its nadir in the eighth decade, followed by reversal and a progressive increase to higher levels (p <0.05), more characteristic of a younger population. In conclusion, healthy longevity depends on preservation of autonomic function, in particular, HRV–parasympathetic function, despite the early age-related decrease. The eighth decade reversal of the decrease in HRV–parasympathetic function and its subsequent increase are key determinants of longevity. Persistently high HRV in the elderly represents a marker predictive of longevity.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Cardiology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Umetani K.
        • Singer D.H.
        • McCraty R.
        • Atkinson M.
        Twenty-four hour time domain heart rate variability and heart rate: relations to age and gender over nine decades.
        J Am Coll Cardiol. 1998; 31: 593-601
        • Reardon M.
        • Malik M.
        Changes in heart rate variability with age.
        PACE. 1996; 19: 1863-1866
        • Paolisso G.
        • Manzella D.
        • Barbieri M.
        • Rizzo M.R.
        • Gambardella A.
        • Varricchio M.
        Baseline heart rate variability in healthy centenarians: differences compared with aged subjects (>75 years old).
        Clin Sci. 1999; 97: 579-584
        • Piccirillo G.
        • Bucca C.
        • Bauco C.
        • Cinti A.M.
        • Michele D.
        • Fimognari F.L.
        • Cacciafesta M.
        • Marigliano V.
        Power spectral analysis of heart rate in subjects over a hundred years old.
        Int J Cardiol. 1998; 63: 53-61
        • Kleiger R.E.
        • Miller J.P.
        • Bigger J.T.
        • Moss A.J.
        And the multicenter post-infarction research group: decreased heart rate variability and its association with increased mortality after acute myocardial infarction.
        Am J Cardiol. 1987; 59: 256-262
        • Kleiger R.E.
        • Stein P.K.
        • Bosner M.S.
        • Rottman J.N.
        Time domain measurements of heart rate variability.
        Cardiol Clin. 1992; 10: 487-498
        • Ewing D.J.
        • Neilson J.M.
        • Travis P.
        New method for assessing cardiac parasympathetic activity using 24 hour electrocardiograms.
        Br Heart J. 1984; 52: 396-402
        • Malik M.
        • Camm A.J.
        Heart rate variability.
        Clin Cardiol. 1990; 13: 570-576
        • Pfeifer M.A.
        • Weinberg C.R.
        • Cook D.
        • Best J.D.
        • Reenan A.
        • Halter J.B.
        Differential changes of autonomic nervous system function with age in man.
        Am J Med. 1983; 75: 249-258
        • Korkushko O.V.
        • Shatilo V.B.
        • Plachinda Y.I.
        • Shatilo T.V.
        Autonomic control of cardiac chronotropic function in man as a function of age: assessment of power spectral analysis of heart rate variability.
        J Auton Nerv Syst. 1991; 32: 191-198
        • Kung H.-C.
        • Hoyert D.L.
        • Xu J.
        • Murphy S.L.
        Deaths: final data for 2005.
        Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2008; 56: 102
        • Buchheit M.
        • Gindre C.
        Cardiac parasympathetic regulation: respective associations with cardiorespiratory fitness and training load.
        Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006; 291: H451-H458
        • Mager D.E.
        • Wan R.
        • Brown M.
        • Cheng A.
        • Wareski P.
        • Abernethy D.R.
        • Mattson M.P.
        Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting alter spectral measures of heart rate and blood pressure variability in rats.
        FASEB J. 2006; 20: 632-637
        • Arking D.E.
        • Atzmon G.
        • Arking A.
        • Barzilai N.
        • Dietz H.C.
        Association between a functional variant of the KLOTHO gene and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure, stroke, and longevity.
        Circ Res. 2005; 96: 412-418
        • Barbieri M.
        • Bonafe M.
        • Franceschi C.
        • Paolisso G.
        Insulin/IGF-I signaling pathway: an evolutionary conserved mechanism of longevity from yeast to humans.
        Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003; 285: E1064-E1071
        • Maron B.J.
        • Thompson P.D.
        • Puffer J.C.
        • McGrew C.A.
        • Strong W.B.
        • Douglas P.S.
        • Clark L.T.
        • Mitten M.J.
        • Crawford M.H.
        • Atkins D.L.
        • Driscoll D.J.
        • Epstein A.E.
        Cardiovascular preparticipation screening of competitive athletes: a statement for health professionals from the Sudden Death Committee (clinical cardiology) and Congenital Cardiac Defects Committee (cardiovascular disease in the young), American Heart Association.
        Circulation. 1996; 94: 850-856
        • Singer D.H.
        • Martin G.J.
        • Magid N.
        • Weiss J.S.
        • Schaad J.W.
        • Kehoe R.
        • Zheutlin T.
        • Fintel D.J.
        • Hsieh A.M.
        • Lesch M.
        Low heart rate variability and sudden cardiac death.
        J Electrocardiol. 1988; 21: S46-S55
        • James R.G.G.
        • Arnold J.M.O.
        • Allen J.D.
        • Pantridge J.F.
        • Shanks R.G.
        The effects of heart rate, myocardial ischemia and vagal stimulation on the threshold for ventricular fibrillation.
        Circulation. 1977; 55: 311-317
        • Krahn A.D.
        • Connolly S.J.
        • Roberts R.S.
        • Gent M.
        • ATA Investigators
        Diminishing proportional risk of sudden death with advancing age: implications for prevention of sudden death.
        Am Heart J. 2004; 147: 837-840
        • Poirier P.
        • Hernandez T.L.
        • Weil K.M.
        • Shepard T.J.
        • Eckel R.H.
        Impact of diet-induced weight loss on the cardiac autonomic nervous system in severe obesity.
        Obes Rev. 2003; 11: 1040-1047
        • Eslami M.
        • Badkoubeh R.S.
        • Mousavi M.
        • Radmehr R.
        • Salehi M.
        • Tavakoli N.
        • Avadi M.R.
        Oral ascorbic acid in combination with beta-blockers.
        Tex Heart Inst J. 2007; 34: 268-274
        • Bigger J.T.
        • El-Sherif T.
        Polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular events: a fish tale.
        Circulation. 2001; 103: 623-625
        • Christensen J.H.
        • Schmidt E.B.
        n-3 fatty acids, heart rate variability, and sudden cardiac death.
        Lipids. 2001; 36: S115-S118

      Linked Article

      • Erratum for Zulfiqar U, et al. “Relation of High Heart Rate Variability to Healthy Longevity” Am J Cardiol 2010;105:1181–1185
        American Journal of CardiologyVol. 106Issue 1
        • Preview
          Affiliations should have read Usman Zulfiqar, MDa,c, Donald A. Jurivich, DOa, Weihua Gao, PhDd, and Donald H. Singer, MDb,e
        • Full-Text
        • PDF
      • Heart Rate Variability and Longevity
        American Journal of CardiologyVol. 106Issue 6
        • Preview
          In their recent report “Relation of High Heart Rate Variability to Healthy Longevity,” Zulfiqar et al1 calculated 4 standard 24-hour time-domain measures of heart rate variability by decade in 344 healthy subjects aged 10 to 99 years. In this cross-sectional study, the investigators observed a sharp increase in the root mean square of the successive normal sinus RR interval difference (rMSSD) and the percentage of successive normal sinus RR intervals >50 ms (pNN50) in the 20 subjects aged >80 years.
        • Full-Text
        • PDF
      • Holter Heart Rate Variability: Are We Measuring Physical Activity?
        American Journal of CardiologyVol. 106Issue 3
        • Preview
          We congratulate Zulfiqar et al1 for their valuable study demonstrating the relation between high heart rate (HR) variability and healthy longevity. In their report, they discussed HR variability due to autonomic control and nothing else. HR variability obviously is caused by autonomic control, as demonstrated by autonomic blockade (see, e.g., Figure 1 in Tan et al2). Fluctuation of a variable is caused by control mechanisms in steady-state conditions. Control mechanisms, including baroreflex, detect any blood pressure drift and change HR, with a delay to compensate for the drift.
        • Full-Text
        • PDF