Evaluation of heart rate variability among caregivers of pediatric patients undergoing surgery
Background: Caregivers of pediatric patients undergoing surgery are likely to suffer from mental and physical exhaustion leading to stress. This is important in view of the prevailing socio-economic as well as the healthcare system available in a developing country like India. Therefore the present
study is designed to measure heart rate variability among this special group of population who give care to pediatric patients undergoing surgery.
Materials and Methods: 15 female subjects were enrolled from among attendants of patients admitted with an immediate indication of surgery, who required constant care. They were free from any type of physical and mental health issues, non smokers and non addicts. Each care giver was subjected to HRV analysis on three occasions: The first record was performed on the first day of their arrival in the hospital as caregivers. The
second observation was recorded after 3 days of care giving. The final HRV analysis was done after 1 month of care giving. Two types of parameters were analyzed: Time domain and frequency domain.Statistical analysis was done using paired t-test.
Results: Both the HRV parameters – time and frequency domain, showed decreased values during the third day and one month recording as compared to the first day recording. The decrease is much more during the one month recording as compared to the third day recording. Statistically significant decrease is observed in mean RR interval, heart rate, VLF and LF only when the first day recording is compared with the third day recording but when the first day recording was compared with the one month recording significant decrease was found in mean RR interval and heart rate.
Conclusion: Subjects involved in taking care of pediatric patients are likely to undergo a lot of physical and mental stress, thus affecting their autonomic status. HRV analysis using short term ECG recording was used to detect changes consequent to this stress. It was found that almost all HRV parameters measuring heart rate complexity were decreased in the period of care giving.
Key words: Care giver, Frequency domain, Heart rate variability, NN50, Pediatric surgery, RMSSD, RR interval
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Prof. Stephen Onwere
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology,
Abia State University Teaching Hospital,