Autonomic Dysfunction and Risk Stratification Assessed from Heart Rate Pattern

A Günther*, O.W Witte, D Hoyer
Department of Neurology, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Erlanger Allee 101, D-07747 Jena, Germany

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© Günther et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Neurology, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Erlanger Allee 101, D-07747 Jena, Germany; Tel: ++4936419323417; Fax: ++4936419323402; E-mail:


The modulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) under physiological and pathophysiological conditions is in focus of recent research. Many patients with cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases display features of sympathovagal dysregulation. Measuring specific ANS parameters could improve risk stratification. Thus, the early diagnosis of ANS dysfunction in these patients poses a great challenge with high prognostic relevance.

The most relevant methods and measures of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) analysis and HRV monitoring will be described in detail in this chapter. The grown importance of these easily obtainable heart rate patterns in stratifying the risk of patients with myocardial infarction and heart failure as well as ischemic stroke will be demonstrated based on recent clinical studies. In order to perspectively improve clinical management of these patients further large scale clinical investigations on the role of ANS dysfunction will be useful.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability, heart failure, stroke.