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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 191-193

A study of heart rate variability among caregivers from a rural background in a busy urban infirmary


1 Department of Physiology, PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Physiology, Basaveshwara Medical College, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Anesthesiology, Basaveshwara Medical College, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Amrith Pakkala
Department of Physiology, PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4958.127391

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Background: Urban life in modern times is completely laden with stressors. Caregivers of chronically sick patients are likely to suffer from mental and physical exhaustion leading to stress. This is important in view of the prevailing socioeconomic conditions as well as the healthcare system available in any developing country. Therefore, the present study was designed to measure the heart rate variability (HRV) in this special group of population who gives care to long-term bedridden patients in an urban setting. Materials and Methods: Fifteen female subjects were enrolled from among the attendants of patients admitted with immediate history of a cerebrovascular accident with locomotor deficits, who required constant care. They were free from any type of physical and mental health issues, nonsmokers, and nonaddicts. Each caregiver was subjected to HRV analysis on three occasions: the first record was performed in the 1st week of their arrival in the hospital as caregivers and the second observation was recorded after 4 months of caregiving. Two types of parameters were analyzed: time domain and frequency domain. Statistical analysis was done using paired t-test. Results: Both the HRV parameters - time and frequency domains - showed decreased values during the 3rd month and 6th month recording as compared to the 1st week recording. The decrease was much more during the 6th month recording as compared to the 3rd month recording. Statistically significant decrease was observed in the mean RR interval, heart rate, Very Low FrequencyVLF, and Low Frequency LF]. On comparing the 1st week recording with the 4th month recording significant decrease was found in mean RR interval and heart rate. Conclusion: Subjects involved in taking care of chronically ill bedridden patients are likely to undergo a lot of physical and mental stress, thus affecting their autonomic status. HRV analysis with short-term electrocardiogram (ECG) recording was used to detect changes consequent to this stress. It was found that almost all HRV parameters measuring heart rate complexity were decreased in the period of caregiving.


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