[The effect of cardiovascular rehabilitation on the variability of the RR cycle after a first uncomplicated acute myocardial infarct].Ital Heart J Suppl 2000; 1(2):241-9IH
The aim of this study was to verify the changes in the autonomic balance by means of heart rate variability assessment in patients with myocardial infarction referred for cardiac rehabilitation.
We studied 122 patients (79 males, 43 females, mean age 56 +/- 5 years), with a first uncomplicated myocardial infarction (anterior 48, thrombolysis 72), Killip class 1, preserved left ventricular function (ejection fraction 49 +/- 6%). All patients were free of inducible residual ischemia. Four weeks after myocardial infarction, patients were randomized into two groups; Group 1 (n = 58) referred for an 8 week cardiac rehabilitation program (scheduled: 24 sessions); Group 2 (n = 64): normal daily physical activity. During a 24-hour Holter ECG monitoring the following parameters were calculated in pharmacological wash-out at randomization (T0) and at the end of cardiac rehabilitation/control period (T1): mean value of RR intervals (RR), its standard deviation (SDNN), pNN50, rMSSD in the time domain; low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) value and the LF/HF ratio in the frequency domain. T1-T0 changes in percent values (delta %) were considered and compared between the two groups.
Thirty-one patients were excluded from the study either for insufficient adhesion to the cardiac rehabilitation program (< 13 sessions, 22 patients) or recurrent ischemia (3 Group 1 patients and 3 Group 2 patients) and non-assessable 24-hour Holter ECG monitoring (3 patients). Thirty-one Group 1 patients and 60 Group 2 patients completed the study with a first and a second 24-hour Holter ECG monitoring performed at 30 +/- 3 days and 60 +/- 4 days respectively. At the same time an ergospirometric test was performed to evaluate cardiopulmonary function by means of exercise time, maximum oxygen consumption, anaerobic threshold, exercise time at the anaerobic threshold, and maximum oxygen consumption at the anaerobic threshold. Twenty-eight Group 1 patients and 44 Group 2 patients completed the study with a first and a second ergospirometric test. Baseline heart rate variability parameters were comparable in the two groups. During the observation period only in Group 1 patients heart rate variability parameters changed significantly: RR (Group 1 = +18.3 +/- 21.3; Group 2 = +4.2 +/- 5.2, p = 0.000), pNN50 (Group 1 = 45.0 +/- 38.9; Group 2 = +24.2 +/- 34.7, p = 0.011), HF (Group 1 = +81.6 +/- 124; Group 2 = -28.7 +/- 75.4, p = 0.014) and LF/HF ratio (Group 1 = -26.0 +/- 16.1; Group 2 = -4.9 +/- 6.1, p = 0.062). There were no significant differences in SDNN, rMSSD and LF. A linear correlation between delta LF/HF ratio and baseline LF/HF ratio values was found in Group 1 (r = 0.489, p = 0.006), whereas no correlation was found between this parameter and age, ejection fraction, creatine phosphokinase, and infarct localization. Group 1 patients had a significant improvement in exercise tolerance compared to Group 2 patients.
A cardiac rehabilitation program positively modifies the sympatho-vagal balance in patients with uncomplicated myocardial infarction, increasing the parasympathetic tone and exercise tolerance.