Ann Rehabil Med.  2017 Dec;41(6):951-960. 10.5535/arm.2017.41.6.951.

Heart Rate Variability Among Children With Acquired Brain Injury

  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
  • 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea.


To find evidence of autonomic imbalance and present the heart rate variability (HRV) parameters that reflect the severity of paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity (PSH) in children with acquired brain injury (ABI).
Thirteen children with ABI were enrolled and age- and sex-matched children with cerebral palsy were selected as the control group (n=13). The following HRV parameters were calculated: time-domain indices including the mean heart rate, standard deviation of all average R-R intervals (SDNN), root mean square of the successive differences (RMSSD), physical stress index (PSI), approximate entropy (ApEn); successive R-R interval difference (SRD), and frequency domain indices including total power (TP), high frequency (HF), low frequency (LF), normalized HF, normalized LF, and LF/HF ratio.
There were significant differences between the ABI and control groups in the mean heart rate, RMSSD, PSI and all indices of the frequency domain analysis. The mean heart rate, PSI, normalized LF, and LF/HF ratio increased in the ABI group. The presence of PSH symptoms in the ABI group demonstrated a statistically significant decline of the SDNN, TP, ln TP.
The differences in the HRV parameters and presence of PSH symptoms are noted among ABI children compared to an age- and sex-matched control group with cerebral palsy. Within the ABI group, the presence of PSH symptoms influenced the parameters of HRV such as SDNN, TP and ln TP.


Brain injuries; Autonomic nervous system; Heart rate; Sympathetic nervous system; Parasympathetic nervous system
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