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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


LEICHT, A.S.  and  ALLEN, G.D.. Moderate-term reproducibility of heart rate variability during rest and light to moderate exercise in children. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2008, vol.41, n.7, pp.627-633. ISSN 1414-431X.

Previous studies have demonstrated the high reproducibility of heart rate variability (HRV) measures in adults while little information exists concerning HRV reproducibility in children. Subsequently, the aim of the current study was to examine the moderate-term reproducibility of heart rate and frequency domain measures of HRV during rest and light to moderate exercise in children. Ten healthy children (6 males, 4 females) aged between 7 and 12 years of age volunteered for this study with HRV recordings obtained during supine rest and three treadmill walking exercise work rates (≤60% maximum heart rate), initially and then 8 weeks later. Differences (P < 0.05) between variables were examined using paired t-tests or Wilcoxon signed rank tests while reliability and reproducibility were examined by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), coefficients of variation (CV), and mean bias ratio and ratio limits of agreement (LOA). Heart rate and all measures of HRV at rest and exercise were unchanged after 8 weeks. Significant ICC were documented primarily during rest (0.72-0.85) while weaker relationships (-0.02-0.87) were evident during exercise. A large range of CV was identified during rest (6-33%) and exercise (3-128%) while the ratio LOA were variable and substantial (1.04-2.73). Despite similar HRV over an 8-week period, variable ICC and sizable CV and ratio LOA indicate moderate to poor reproducibility of HRV in children, particularly during light to moderate exercise. Studies examining HRV in children should include age- or maturation stage-matched control participants to address the age-related change in HRV and inadequate HRV reliability.

Keywords : Autonomic nervous system; Heart rate; Parasympathetic; Neural control; Reliability.

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