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Editor's Correspondence
January 23, 2006

Heart Rate Variability in Women

Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(2):247. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.2.247-a

Kim and colleagues1 demonstrated a reduction in heart rate variability (HRV) among older women with depression and no underlying coronary artery disease (CAD). The authors note that decreased HRV reflects a relative excess of sympathetic nervous system activity and is predictive of malignant arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. While not explicitly stated, an extension of their findings is that diminished HRV may predispose older women with depression to sudden cardiac death even in the absence of established CAD. While this possibility is speculative, an analogous scenario may be inferred among young women with anorexia nervosa.

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