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Assessment of heart rate variability in Boxers with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy

Alan W. SpierDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
Present address: Department of Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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 DVM, PhD, DACVIM
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Kathryn M. MeursDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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 DVM, PhD, DACVIM

Abstract

Objective—To assess heart rate variability (HRV) in Boxers with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), assess the ability of HRV analysis to identify differences in Boxers on the basis of severity of their arrhythmia, and evaluate the use of HRV to determine whether persistently high sympathetic tone is present in these dogs.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—24 Boxers with ARVC and 10 clinically normal non-Boxer dogs.

Procedure—Boxers were categorized as dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF), dogs with ≤ 2 ventricular premature complexes (VPCs)/24 h (designated unaffected), or dogs with > 1,000 VPCs/24 h (designated affected). Ambulatory electrocardiography (24 hours) was performed in each dog. Recordings were analyzed for HRV variables at a commercial laboratory; differences in HRV variables among groups were compared with 1-way ANOVA.

Results—Compared with control non-Boxer dogs and Boxers without CHF (affected and unaffected Boxers), HRV was reduced in Boxers with CHF. No differences in HRV variables were detected between affected and unaffected Boxers. Inconsistent differences were identified between the control dogs and Boxers without CHF that had various degrees of arrhythmias.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that persistently high sympathetic tone is not a consistent feature of ARVC. Differences in some HRV variables between Boxers without CHF and control dogs suggest that Boxers may have different autonomic control of heart rate, compared with that of clinically normal non-Boxer dogs. The usefulness of HRV analysis appears limited to Boxers with ARVC that have systolic dysfunction and CHF. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:534–537)

Abstract

Objective—To assess heart rate variability (HRV) in Boxers with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), assess the ability of HRV analysis to identify differences in Boxers on the basis of severity of their arrhythmia, and evaluate the use of HRV to determine whether persistently high sympathetic tone is present in these dogs.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—24 Boxers with ARVC and 10 clinically normal non-Boxer dogs.

Procedure—Boxers were categorized as dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF), dogs with ≤ 2 ventricular premature complexes (VPCs)/24 h (designated unaffected), or dogs with > 1,000 VPCs/24 h (designated affected). Ambulatory electrocardiography (24 hours) was performed in each dog. Recordings were analyzed for HRV variables at a commercial laboratory; differences in HRV variables among groups were compared with 1-way ANOVA.

Results—Compared with control non-Boxer dogs and Boxers without CHF (affected and unaffected Boxers), HRV was reduced in Boxers with CHF. No differences in HRV variables were detected between affected and unaffected Boxers. Inconsistent differences were identified between the control dogs and Boxers without CHF that had various degrees of arrhythmias.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that persistently high sympathetic tone is not a consistent feature of ARVC. Differences in some HRV variables between Boxers without CHF and control dogs suggest that Boxers may have different autonomic control of heart rate, compared with that of clinically normal non-Boxer dogs. The usefulness of HRV analysis appears limited to Boxers with ARVC that have systolic dysfunction and CHF. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:534–537)