Novel measure of autonomic remodeling associated with sudden cardiac arrest in diabetes

Yang Yang, Aapo L. Aro, Sandeep G. Nair, Reshmy Jayaraman, Kyndaron Reinier, Carmen Rusinaru, Audrey Uy-Evanado, Hirad Yarmohammadi, Jonathan Jui, Sumeet S. Chugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background Diabetes is independently associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), with a need to identify novel methods for risk stratification. Diabetic patients can develop autonomic dysfunction that has been associated with an increased risk of ventricular arrhythmogenesis and manifests as reduced heart rate variability (HRV). However, previously published studies have not accounted for resting heart rate (HR), important from both pathophysiological and prognosticating standpoints. Objective We sought to evaluate autonomic remodeling of the sinus node response in SCA and diabetes while accounting for HR. Methods We performed a case-control study in SCA cases (age 35–59 years; 2002–2014) from the ongoing Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study (catchment population ∼1 million), and archived 12-lead electrocardiograms recorded prior to the SCA event were compared with those of geographic controls. Short-term HRV was calculated from digitized 10-second electrocardiograms by using established methods. We analyzed 313 subjects (mean age 52.0 ± 5.5 years; 216 men, 69.0%) and compared 4 groups: 111 diabetic (49 cases, 62 controls) and 202 nondiabetic (80 cases, 122 controls) subjects. Results Analysis of covariance showed an absence of the expected interaction between HRV and HR (HRV-HR) in diabetic patients with SCA (regression slope −0.008; 95% confidence interval −0.023 to 0.0071; P =.26). This finding, unique to this population of diabetic patients with SCA, was not detected using traditional HRV measures. Conclusion By incorporating resting HR in this analysis, we observed that this population of diabetic patients with SCA had loss of the expected HRV-HR relationship. This potentially novel noninvasive risk measurement warrants further investigation, especially at the level of the individual patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1455
Number of pages7
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Diabetes
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Heart rate variability
  • Risk stratification
  • Sudden cardiac arrest
  • Sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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