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Letters to the Editor
August 2009

Heart Rate Variability and Depression: Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders as Confounder?

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(8):915-917. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.102

Licht et al1 discuss a relationship between depression and heart rate variability in their sample, which was also studied for the presence of other health-related variables, including heart disease and chronic medical conditions. Not specifically mentioned in their report is the presence of sleep-related breathing disorders (including sleep apnea) as a potential confounder, which is surprising given the evidence that exists linking these conditions to both diminished heart rate variability2 and depression.3

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