Effects of age and obesity on 24-hour heart rate variability in healthy lean and obese, young and older men

F. Tsofliou, Diane Jackson, Claire Fyfe, Alan Arthur Sneddon, Klaus Wilfried Juergen Wahle, Lynda Williams

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Heart rate variability (HRV) is used to assess cardiac autonomic function. HRV
decreases and the incidence of obesity increases with ageing but any interaction
between obesity and age on long-term HRV is unclear. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of ageing and obesity on 24-h heart rate variability in healthy lean and obese, young and older men.

A Holter recorder was used to determine 24-h HRV in 14 lean (BMI (23.6 ± 1.5
kg.m-2) and 13 obese (BMI (32.5 ± 1.8 kg.m-2) young men (20-37 yrs); and 22 lean (BMI (23.6 ± 1.4 kg.m-2) and 16 obese (BMI (31.7 ± 1.6 kg.m-2) older men (50-65yrs). All time domain variables (SDNN, SDANN, SDNN index, rMSSD and pNN50) were measured. Age significantly influenced all time-domain variables of HRV (P=0.01). For most of the time domain variables of HRV (SDNN, SDANN, rMSSD and pNN50) there was a significant interaction between age and BMI (P=0.036). For all time domain variables, young lean men had significantly higher 24-h HRV compared to young obese men and older men (P<0.05). SDNN index, but not the other time domain variables, was significantly higher in young obese men compared to older obese men (P<0.05). No significant differences were found in 24-h HRV between lean and obese older men.

In conclusion, while age significantly influenced 24-h HRV, the significant effect of
BMI on HRV occurred only at the younger age and not in the older age group

This study was supported by Scottish Government Rural and Environment Researchand Analysis Directorate (RERAD) in the UK and EC Framework V Grant QLK6-2002-02288 (OB-AGE).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S112
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

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