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C-reactive protein and heart rate variability: Are there associations with severity of coronary artery disease?

      Background: Inflammation has a major role in atherosclerosis and C-reactive protein (CRP) is elevated in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) (1). Moreover, inflammation is also implicated in autonomic nervous system control (2). However, whether elevated levels of CRP and reduced heart rate variability (HRV) play a role in the severity of CAD remains controversial. Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate and compare high sensitivity CRP levels and HRV indices according severity of CAD. Methods: Eighty seven patients (mean age 54 ± 5.39 years) with CAD (angiographically evaluated) were allocated according number of diseased vessels: one vessel (G1, n = 26); two vessels (G2, n = 28); three or more vessels (G3, n = 33). Heart rate was measured at rest using a Polar®S810i for 15 min. HRV was analyzed by spectral(3) and symbolic analysis(4). CRP was measured by nephelometry method. Statistical analysis: One way ANOVA test, with level of significance = 5%. Results: High sensitivity CRP levels and HRV indices did not differ between groups. Conclusion: The results show that high sensitivity CRP and cardiac autonomic modulation are not related to severity of CAD. 1. Drakopoulou M, Toutouzas K, Stefanadi E, Tsiamis E, Tousoulis D, Stefanadis C. Association of inflammatory markers with angiographic severity and extent of coronary artery disease. Atherosclerosis. 2009;206(2):335-9.
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