Circadian heart rate and blood pressure variability considered for research and patient care

Ram B. Singh, Germaine G Cornelissen-Guillaume, Andi Weydahl, Othild Schwartzkopff, George Katinas, Kuniaki Otsuka, Yoshihiko Watanabe, Shoki Yano, Hideki Mori, Yuhei Ichimaru, Gen Mitsutake, Daniel Pella, Lu Fanghong, Ziyan Zhao, Reema S. Rao, Anna Gvozdjakova, Franz Halberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Objectives: To review mechanisms of circadian variations in heart rate variability (HRV) and blood pressure variability (BPV) and mortality and morbidity due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Methods: Results from 7-day/24-h HRV and BPV are interpreted by gender and age-specified reference values in the context of a Medline search. Results: Abnormal HRV and BPV measured around the clock for 7 days provides information on the risk of subsequent morbid events in subjects without obvious heart disease and without abnormality outside the conventional (in the sense of chronobiologically unquantified) physiological range. Meditation, β-blockers, ACE inhibitors, n-3 fatty acids and estrogens may have a beneficial influence on HRV, but there is no definitive outcome-validated therapy. Low HRV has been associated with a risk of arrhythmias and arrhythmic death, unstable angina, myocardial infarction, progression of heart failure and atherosclerosis. BPV may be characterized by treatable circadian-hyper-amplitude-tension (CHAT), which can be transient '24-h CHAT' or '7-day-CHAT', MESOR-hypertension and/or an unusually-timed (odd) circadian acrophase (ecphasia), all associated with an increased risk of stroke, stroke death, myocardial infarction, and kidney disease. Conclusions: Precise insight into the patho-physiology in time of HRV and BPV is needed with development of a consensus on best measures of HRV for clinical purposes and to determine when a 7-day record interpreted chronobiologically suffices and when it does not, for detection within as well as outside the conventional normal range, for diagnostic clinical practice and to direct therapy of risk greater than that associated with hypertension, smoking or any other risk factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-28
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Blood pressure variability
  • Circadian variation
  • Heart rate variability
  • Sudden death

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