Heart Rate Variability: a stress indicator of real life scenarios

Tuesday 12 September 2023, 10:30 am
PhD student
S. Hammoud
prof. dr. B.J.F. van den Bemt, prof. dr. M. Kurdi (Lebanese University, LB)

Stress is a significant indirect risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, which may be objectively measured by heart rate variability (HRV) analysis. This research evaluated multi-sourced real-life stressors, like exam stress, physico-physiological stress induced by steroids intake, and nutrition stress during Ramadan intermittent fasting. During official examinations, students had increased stress more pronounced among females. Moreover, steroids abuse by weightlifters did not affect resting cardiac stress, but it reduced adaptability of the heart during and after exercise despite increased muscle mass of weightlifters actively using steroids. The latter was associated with left ventricular hypertrophy and reduced systolic function (global longitudinal strain) even during washout periods. On another aspect, intermittent fasting was proved as risk-free practice for healthy subjects and adherent hypertensive patients. Additional efforts should be directed to collect real-life HRV data, to fill research gaps in literature, and facilitate updating HRV guidelines to be used by clinicians and healthcare personnel.

Sabah (1994) obtained her Master’s degree in Cardiovascular Pharmacology, at the Lebanese University, Lebanon in 2017 after which she worked as a research assistant. In 2019 she started her PhD research on heart rate variability at the Department of Pharmacy of Radboudumc, and the Lebanese University, Lebanon. She is now a research assistant and lecturer at the Lebanese University.