Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2013 Dec;11(3):137-143.

Comparative Study of Heart Rate Variability in Patients with Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or Major Depressive Disorder

  • 1Clinical Emotion and Cognition Research Laboratory, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea.


OBJECTIVE: Heart rate variability (HRV) changes as a function of psychiatric illness. This study aimed to evaluate HRV among patients with various psychiatric disorders.
The present study recruited patients with schizophrenia (n=35), bipolar disorder (n=41), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD; n=34), or major depressive disorder (n=34) as well as healthy controls (n=27). The time-domain analysis (the standard deviation of all RR intervals [SDNN] and the square root of the mean squared differences of successive normal sinus intervals [RMSSD]), the frequency-domain analysis (very low frequency, low frequency [LF], high frequency [HF], and total power [TP]), and a non-linear complexity measure the approximate entropy were computed.
SDNN and HF were significantly reduced in patients with schizophrenia compared with healthy controls. SDNN, RMSSD, TP, LF, and HF were significantly reduced in bipolar patients compared with healthy controls. HF was significantly reduced in PTSD patients compared with healthy controls.
Our findings indicate that HRV is not sufficiently powerful to discriminate among various psychiatric illnesses. However, our results suggest that HRV, particularly HF, could be used as a tool for discriminating between psychiatric patients and healthy controls.


Heart rate variability; Schizophrenia; Bipolar disorder; Post traumatic stress disorder; Major depressive disorder
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