Heart rate variability - a potential early marker of sub-acute post-stroke infections
Acta Neurologica Scandinavica,  Clinical Article

Gunther A et al. – Heart rate variability (HRV) indices are candidates for early markers of developing post–stroke infections, preceding routine blood samples. Thus, HRV–based early diagnosis of post–stroke infection should be investigated in more detail as it may have implications as a novel tool for timely and appropriate treatment. A corresponding continuous HRV–based risk assessment using the ECG provided by the routine stroke monitoring system would be possible without any additional burden for patients and staff.

Methods
  • Forty-three patients with acute ischemic stroke were enrolled in a prospective study.
  • The predictability of sub-acute infections (day 4 ± 1 after admission) was investigated in 34 patients without acute infection by means of HRV indices obtained in the acute period (48 h after admission).

Results
  • Sub-acute infection could be predicted in patients without clinical or paraclinical (white blood cell count and C-reactive protein) signs of infection in the acute period at :
    • Day: increased HFnorm, reduced LFnorm and LF/HF
    • Night: reduced LF and VLF (P < 0.05).

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