The study collected data through the Finnish Cardiovascular Study conducted at the Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland. Between 2001 and 2004, 1,972 men and women underwent clinical testing using an exercise bicycle and ergometer. Heart rate recovery and T-wave alternans were registered on an electrocardiogram and, when analyzed together, exceeded the predictive value of either parameter alone, as well as standard risk factors.
The combination of reduced heart rate recovery and heightened T-wave alternans has a broad implication on the clinical assessment of patients who are not easily identified otherwise by standard risk factors. The results may help shape patient therapy as health professionals direct patients toward specific exercise training to improve long-term prognosis.
“Our study is the first to combine these two variables to demonstrate the presence of high levels of T-wave alternans during exercise or recovery, adding significantly to the prognostic power of poor heart rate recovery,” said lead author Johanna Leino, BMS, department of clinical physiology of Tampere University Hospital. “In addition to improving predictability, the combined assessment of HRR and TWA may be helpful in gaining insight into the pathophysiologic mechanisms on individual patient basis, thus improving therapy.”
According to the study, the measurement of heart rate recovery could allow physicians to incorporate exercise to improve vagus nerve tone, baroreflex sensitivity and long-term prognosis. The presence of heightened T-wave alternans reflective of an unstable cardiac substrate, alternatively, could signal the need for antiarrhythmic therapy.
For more information about this study, please visit www.heartrhythmjournal.com.
About HeartRhythm Journal
HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, provides rapid publication of the most important science developments in the field of arrhythmias and cardiovascular electrophysiology (EP). As the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, HeartRhythm publishes both basic and clinical subject matter of scientific excellence devoted to the EP of the heart and blood vessels, as well as therapy. The journal is the only EP publication serving the entire electrophysiology community from basic to clinical academic researchers, private practitioners, technicians, industry and trainees. HeartRhythm has an impact factor of 4.444 (as of 2008) and ranks 11th out of 78 cardiovascular medicine journals worldwide by the Institute for Scientific Information, remaining the #1 specialty journal in cardiology. Additionally, the journal ranks seventh in the Immediacy Index among cardiology publications. It is also the official publication of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.
Contact: Kennesha Baldwin
Heart Rhythm Society