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Heart rate variability and heart rate recovery in lung cancer survivors eligible for long-term cure


Lung cancer survivors are at risk for physical fitness and autonomic function impairments. In a cross-sectional study of consecutive lung cancer survivors post-curative intent therapy, we assessed and identified predictors of resting heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate recovery (HRR), defined as standard deviation of normal-to-normal-R-to-R intervals (SDNN) and root-mean-square-of-successive-differences (rMSSD) from routine outpatient single 10-s electrocardiographs (ECGs) and difference in heart rate (HR) at 1-minute following and the end of the six-minute-walk-test (6MWT), respectively. In 69 participants, the mean (SD) HRR was -10.6 (6.7) beats. Significant independent predictors of HRR were age and HR change associated with the 6MWT. In a subset of 41 participants with available ECGs, the mean (SD) SDNN and rMSSD were 19.1 (15.6) and rMSSD 18.2 (14.6) ms, respectively. Significant independent predictors of HRV were supine HR, HRR, and total lung capacity. HRV/HRR may be useful physiological measures in studies aimed at improving physical fitness and/or autonomic function in lung cancer survivors.

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