Differences in heart rate variability between depressed and non-depressed elderly

K.G. van der Kooy, H.P. Hout*, H.W.J. Van Marwijk, M. de Haan, C.D.A. Stehouwer, A.T. Beekman

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective To determine whether older primary care patients with a Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) have lower heart rate variability (HRV) compared to non-depressed patients. HRV is a measure of cardiac autonomic functioning. Method A cross-sectional comparison of 136 elderly persons with MDD and 136 non-depressed controls (matched forage and gender) recruited in family practices in the Netherlands. Depression was determined according to the DSM-IV criteria using the PRIME-MD. HRV was measured with an electrocardiogram (ECG) during a 5-minute supine rest. Results Multivariate analyses showed statistically significant decrease in HRV in MDD patients compared with controls. Conclusion Older primary care patients with MDD have a reduced HRV. This may explain why depression is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-50
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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