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Cohort Study of Heart Rate Variability

This study has been completed.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Identifier:
First received: May 25, 2000
Last updated: April 11, 2016
Last verified: April 2016
To examine factors affecting heart rate variability (HRV) and the role of HRV in heart disease. Specifically, to examine the role of HRV: as a predictor of fatal and nonfatal ischemic heart disease over a six year follow-up of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) population based, bi-ethnic cohort; on the six year progression of carotid atherosclerosis measured by B-mode ultrasound; and on the incidence of hypertension. Also, to study the effect of elevated fasting insulin, glucose, diabetes mellitus, and other metabolic abnormalities on changes in HRV over nine years of follow-up.

Condition Intervention
Cardiovascular Diseases
Myocardial Ischemia
Carotid Stenosis
Diabetes Mellitus
Heart Diseases
Other: No interventions

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Cohort Study of Heart Rate Variability

Further study details as provided by University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Incident coronary heart disease and stroke events [ Time Frame: 10-year follow-up ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • all-cause and cause-specific mortality [ Time Frame: 10-year follow-up ]

Enrollment: 111654
Study Start Date: August 1996
Study Completion Date: June 2001
Primary Completion Date: June 2001 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Intervention Details:
    Other: No interventions
    No interventions
Detailed Description:


Heart rate variability analysis has been widely used in clinical research as a noninvasive measurement of autonomic function. It has been found to be associated with post-myocardial infarction mortality, hypertension, sudden cardiac death, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. However, little epidemiologic research on HRV had been reported prior to this study in 1996. Almost no data were available on the population distribution of HRV, its correlates in populations, the factors associated with changes in HRV over time, or on the cardiovascular sequelae of impaired autonomic function assessed by HRV obtained from population-based prospective studies.


The study was ancillary to ARIC, a population-based, longitudinal study of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. The baseline exam was completed in 1987 to 1988, followed by yearly contacts and re-examinations every three years. The present study built on the data collected by the ARIC investigators by retrieving and processing beat-to-beat heart rate data collected during the baseline exam. Five minutes of beat-to-beat heart rate data were obtained from the ARIC cohort participants during their third follow-up visit (Visit) 4 in 1996 through 1998. Time and frequency domain HRV indices were derived for an assessment of autonomic function. The following HRV indices were computed both for the baseline and the nine-year follow-up exam (1996 through 1998) on the 13,000 members of the ARIC cohort: time domain indices; mean heart rate, minimum and maximum heart rate, standard deviation of all normal R-R intervals, the coefficient of variation of all normal R-R intervals, root mean square of the differences of successive R-R intervals, and the proportion of adjacent R-R intervals. Frequency domain indices were also computed, including high frequency power, low frequency power, and the high/low frequency power ratio.


Ages Eligible for Study:   45 Years to 64 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Probability Sample
Study Population
Population-based sample of adults ages 45-64 years
Residents of 4 geographically defined areas
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00005399

Sponsors and Collaborators
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Principal Investigator: Gerardo Heiss University of North Carolina
  More Information

Responsible Party: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Identifier: NCT00005399     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 96-0453
R01HL055669 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
4313 ( Other Identifier: NHLBI )
Study First Received: May 25, 2000
Last Updated: April 11, 2016

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Diabetes Mellitus
Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart Diseases
Myocardial Ischemia
Coronary Artery Disease
Carotid Stenosis
Glucose Metabolism Disorders
Metabolic Diseases
Endocrine System Diseases
Pathologic Processes
Vascular Diseases
Coronary Disease
Arterial Occlusive Diseases
Carotid Artery Diseases
Cerebrovascular Disorders
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases processed this record on April 28, 2017