Postural Changes on Heart Rate Variability among Older Population: A Preliminary Study

Author: Warawoot Chuangchai1, Wiraporn Pothisiri1
1 College of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Conference/Journal: Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res
Date published: 2021 Feb 27
Other: Volume ID: 2021 , Pages: 6611479 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1155/2021/6611479. , Word Count: 235

This study aims to investigate an association between body postures and autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses through analysis of short-term heart rate variability (HRV) data obtained through electrocardiography.

Forty older individuals were recruited to form the sample. HRV measurements were taken in three positions-sitting, supine, and standing-and compared.

Results demonstrated statistically significant differences in the HRV parameters used to examine the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), specifically in the measurements obtained from the sitting position and the supine position (P < 0.001 for PNS and P = 0.011 for SNS). The differences in these parameters were, however, negligible between the sitting and the standing positions. Moreover, the ANS responses obtained in the sitting position were strongly and positively correlated with those in the standing position (r = 0.854 for PNS and r = 0.794 for SNS). These results suggested that the PNS and SNS parameters obtained while sitting were likely to be affected by orthostatic hypotension in much the same way as those in the standing position, as compared to the supine position.

As such, sitting may not be the best position for older individuals in the assessment of their autonomic responses, whereas the supine position is recommended as the baseline posture in the old-age population. These findings are useful for future research in clinical settings that require accuracy in the ANS responses as determined by the HRV measurements.

PMID: 33727919 PMCID: PMC7937484 DOI: 10.1155/2021/6611479