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Altered heart rate variability in panic disorder patients.

Biol Psychiatry. 1995; 37(1):18-24 (ISSN: 0006-3223)

Klein E; Cnaani E; Harel T; Braun S; Ben-Haim SA
Department of Psychiatry, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.

Resting electrocardiographic recordings were obtained from 10 patients with panic disorder (PD) and 14 normal controls. Signal analysis of the beat-to-beat heart rate variability was performed by means of power spectrum analysis. The analysis revealed that patients with PD had marked reduction in the high-frequency peaks of the power spectrum densities. An Energy Ratio Index (ERI), which accurately differentiated between patients and controls, was calculated. In PD patients, a significant correlation was demonstrated between the clinical ratings and the energy ratios. Our findings suggest that decreased heart rate variability may be a characteristic of PD. The importance of this finding as a diagnostic marker and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms need to be further explored.

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