The ability of several short-term measures of RR variability to predict mortality after myocardial infarction.
BACKGROUND We studied 715 patients 2 weeks after myocardial infarction to test the hypothesis that short-term power spectral measures of RR variability (calculated from 2 to 15 minutes of normal RR interval data) will predict all-cause mortality or arrhythmic death.
METHODS AND RESULTS We performed power spectral analyses on the entire 24-hour RR interval time series. To compare with the 24-hour analyses, we selected short segments of ECG recordings from two time periods for analysis: 8 AM to 4 PM and midnight to 5 AM. The former corresponds to the time interval during which short-term measures of RR variability would most likely be obtained. The latter, during sleep, represent a period of increased vagal tone, which may simulate the conditions that exist when patients have a signal-averaged ECG recorded, ie, lying quietly in the laboratory. Four frequency domain measures were calculated from spectral analysis of heart period data over a 24-hour interval. We computed the 24-hour power spectral density and calculated the power within three frequency bands: (1) 0.0033 to < 0.04 Hz, very low frequency power, (2) 0.04 to < 0.15 Hz, low frequency power, and (3) 0.15 to 0.40 Hz, high frequency power. In addition, we calculated the ratio of low to high frequency power. These measures were calculated for 15-, 10-, 5-, and 2-minute segments during the day and at night. Mean power spectral values from short periods during the day and night were similar to 24-hour values, and the correlations between short segment values and 24-hour values were strong (many correlations were > or = 0.75). Using the optimal cutpoints determined previously for the 24-hour power spectral values, we compared the survival experience of patients with low values for RR variability in short segments of ECG recordings to those with high values. We found that power spectral measures of RR variability were excellent predictors of all-cause, cardiac, and arrhythmic mortality and sudden death. Patients with low values were 2 to 4 times as likely to die over an average follow-up of 31 months as were patients with high values. The power spectral measures of RR variability did not predict arrhythmic or sudden deaths substantially better than all-cause mortality.
CONCLUSIONS Power spectral measures of RR variability calculated from short (2 to 15 minutes) ECG recordings are remarkably similar to those calculated over 24 hours. The power spectral measures of RR variability are excellent predictors of all-cause mortality and sudden cardiac death.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association