Heart rate variability in children: methodological issues and clinical applications




Iván Rodríguez-Núñez, Departamento de Kinesiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Concepción, Chile; Fundación Kinesiología, Ciencia y Sociedad, Chile
Natalia Rodríguez-Romero, Departamento de Kinesiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Concepción, Chile; Fundación Kinesiología, Ciencia y Sociedad, Chile
Alejandro Álvarez, Servicio de Pediatría, Unidad de Cardiología, Hospital Dr. Guillermo Grant Benavente, Concepción, Chile
Lysien Zambrano, Departamento de Fisiología y Ciencias Morfológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH), Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Glaucia Luciano da Veiga, Laboratório de Análise Clinico, Centro Universitário Saúde ABC, Santo André, Brasil
Fernando Romero, Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Médicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile


Heart rate variability (HRV) corresponds to variations in heart rate or beat-beat time interval. This parameter reflects the status of the autonomic mechanisms of cardiovascular control, which may be influenced by changes characteristic of the life cycle of people, sedentary lifestyle, and various disease processes that directly or indirectly generate changes in the HRV and shift the autonomic balance, either towards greater sympathetic or parasympathetic influence on the heart. These antecedents support the use of HRV indices for the diagnosis and monitoring of various nosological entities in adults. However, there has been limited progress in the study of temporal variations in heart rhythm in the pediatric population. This article aims to describe the physiological and technical aspects of HRV in the pediatric population to provide a background that allows optimizing the application of these parameters in this age group.



Keywords: Heart rate variability. Spectral analysis. Autonomic nervous system. Children.