Openly accessible

Altered cardiac autonomic nervous function in depression

Wang, Yiming, Zhao, Xun, O'Neil, Adrienne, Turner, Alyna, Liu, Xingde and Berk, Michael 2013, Altered cardiac autonomic nervous function in depression, BMC psychiatry, vol. 13, Article 187, pp. 1-7, doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-13-187.

Attached Files
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
berk-alteredcardiac-2013.pdf Published version application/pdf 342.01KB 235

Title Altered cardiac autonomic nervous function in depression
Author(s) Wang, Yiming
Zhao, Xun
O'Neil, Adrienne
Turner, AlynaORCID iD for Turner, Alyna
Liu, Xingde
Berk, MichaelORCID iD for Berk, Michael
Journal name BMC psychiatry
Volume number 13
Season Article 187
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2013-07
ISSN 1471-244X
Keyword(s) depression
cardiac autonomic nervous system
heart rate variability
cardiovascular disorders
Summary Background:
Depression is an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. Autonomic instability may play a mediating or moderating role in this relationship; however this is not well understood. The objective of this study was to explore cardiac autonomic function and cardiac arrhythmia in depression, the correlation between depression severity and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) related indices, and the prevalence of arrhythmia.

Individuals (n = 53) with major depression as assessed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, who had a Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD) score ≥20 and a Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale score > 53 were compared to 53 healthy individuals, matched for age and gender. Multichannel Electrocardiograph ECG-92C data were collected over 24 hours. Long-term changes in HRV were used to assess the following vagally mediated changes in autonomic tone, expressed as time domain indices: Standard deviation of the NN intervals (SDNN), standard deviation of 5 min averaged NN intervals (SDANN), Root Mean Square of the Successive Differences (RMSSD) and percentage of NN intervals > 50 ms different from preceding interval (pNN50). Pearson’s correlations were conducted to explore the strength of the association between depression severity (using the SDS and HRV related indices, specifically SDNN and low frequency domain / high frequency domain (LF/HF)).

The values of SDNN, SDANN, RMSSD, PNN50 and HF were lower in the depression group compared to the control group (P<.05). The mean value of the LF in the depression group was higher than the in control group (P<.05). Furthermore the ratio of LF/HF was higher among the depression group than the control group (P<.05). A linear relationship was shown to exist between the severity of the depression and HRV indices. In the depression group, the prevalence of arrhythmia was significantly higher than in the control group (P<.05), particularly supraventricular arrhythmias.

Our findings suggest that depression is accompanied by dysfunction of the cardiac autonomic nervous system, and further, that depression severity is linked to severity of this dysfunction. Individuals with depression appear to be susceptible to premature atrial and/or ventricular disease.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/1471-244X-13-187
Field of Research 110901 Autonomic Nervous System
Socio Economic Objective 920103 Cardiovascular System and Diseases
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2013
Copyright notice ©2013, BioMed Central
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Medicine
Open Access Collection
Connect to link resolver
Unless expressly stated otherwise, the copyright for items in DRO is owned by the author, with all rights reserved.

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 55 times in TR Web of Science
Scopus Citation Count Cited 61 times in Scopus
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Access Statistics: 1072 Abstract Views, 236 File Downloads  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Mon, 11 Nov 2013, 10:37:28 EST by Barb Lavelle

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact