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Is heart rate variability a valid parameter to predict sudden death in patients with Becker’s muscular dystrophy?
  1. E Ammendola1,
  2. V Russo1,
  3. L Politano2,
  4. L Santangelo1,
  5. R Calabrò1
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
  2. 2Cardiomyologic and Genetic Section, Department of Internal and Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Vincenzo Russo
    Via della Resistenza n°48, 80021 Afragola, Naples, Italy; v.p.russo{at}

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Becker’s muscular dystrophy (BMD) is an X linked recessive muscular dystrophy caused by dystrophin anomalies in striated muscles, with myocardial involvement1,2 and consequent dilated cardiomyopathy, rhythm and conduction disorders, and a high risk of sudden cardiac death.3,4 Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the cyclical variations of beat-to-beat (RR) intervals that reflects cardiac autonomic function and sympathovagal balance.5,6 A predominance of sympathetic tone in cardiac activity induces tachycardia and reduced beat-to-beat variations, whereas parasympathetic nerve activity reduces heart rate and increases HRV.7 HRV is a well-correlated non-invasive parameter used to stratify arrhythmic risk in patients with chronic failure. In general, higher HRV is desirable, and lower HRV has been found to be a significant independent predictor of cardiac mortality and morbidity.8,9

The objective of our study was to evaluate the prognostic value of HRV for sudden death in a population of patients with BMD and dilated cardiomyopathy.


The study population consisted in 30 men (mean age 44.2 (SD 12) years) with BMD and a variable stage of myocardial involvement. The control group consisted of 30 healthy men (age 39 (3.2) years). All patients included in study underwent physical …

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