Heart Rate Variability Scores Track Anxiety Symptoms in Fibromyalgia


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Specific parts of heart rate variability scores appear to be able to tell someone with FM is suffering from anxiety...Because HRV tracks sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system functioning this suggests that they are involved in producing anxiety in FM. Since the SNS - upregulated in ME/CFS and FM - controls the fight/flight response - this makes perfect sense to me...

Comput Biol Med. 2015 Oct 20;67:126-135. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2015.10.003. [Epub ahead of print] Investigation of the relationship between anxiety and heart rate variability in fibromyalgia: A new quantitative approach to evaluate anxiety level in fibromyalgia syndrome.
Bilgin S1, Arslan E2, Elmas O3, Yildiz S4, Colak OH5, Bilgin G6, Koyuncuoglu HR7, Akkus S8, Comlekci S9, Koklukaya E10.


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is identified by widespread musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, nonrestorative sleep, fatigue, morning stiffness and anxiety. Anxiety is very common in Fibromyalgia and generally leads to a misdiagnosis. Self-rated Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and doctor-rated Hamilton Anxiety Inventory (HAM-A) are frequently used by specialists to determine anxiety that accompanies fibromyalgia. However, these semi-quantitative anxiety tests are still subjective as the tests are scored using doctor-rated or self-rated scales.

In this study, we investigated the relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) frequency subbands and anxiety tests. The study was conducted with 56 FMS patients and 34 healthy controls. BAI and HAM-A test scores were determined for each participant. ECG signals were then recruited and 71 HRV subbands were obtained from these ECG signals using Wavelet Packet Transform (WPT). The subbands and anxiety tests scores were analyzed and compared using multilayer perceptron neural networks (MLPNN).

The results show that a HRV high frequency (HF) subband in the range of 0.15235Hz to 0.40235Hz, is correlated with BAI scores and another HRV HF subband, frequency range of 0.15235Hz to 0.28907Hz is correlated with HAM-A scores. The overall accuracy is 91.11% for HAM-A and 90% for BAI with MLPNN analysis.

Doctor-rated or self-rated anxiety tests should be supported with quantitative and more objective methods. Our results show that the HRV parameters will be able to support the anxiety tests in the clinical evaluation of fibromyalgia. In other words, HRV parameters can potentially be used as an auxiliary diagnostic method in conjunction with anxiety tests.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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