Heart rate variability (HRV) is a method of physiologic assessment which uses fluctuations in the RR intervals to evaluate modulation of the heart rate by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Decreased variability has been studied as a marker of increased pathology and a predictor of morbidity and mortality in multiple medical disciplines. HRV is potentially useful in trauma as a tool for prehospital triage, initial patient assessment, and continuous monitoring of critically injured patients. However, several technical limitations and a lack of standardized values have inhibited its clinical implementation in trauma. The purpose of this paper is to describe the three analytical methods (time domain, frequency domain, and entropy) and specific clinical populations that have been evaluated in trauma patients and to identify key issues regarding HRV that must be explored if it is to be widely adopted for the assessment of trauma patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine