Cardiac autonomic dysregulation in acute schizophrenia | Acta Neuropsychiatrica | Cambridge Core

Cardiac autonomic dysregulation in acute schizophrenia - Volume 25 Issue 3


cardiac autonomic function has been proposed in schizophrenia, but the
results are mixed. Therefore, analyses with larger sample sizes and
better methodology are needed.


examine whether acute schizophrenia is associated with cardiac
autonomic dysfunction, 314 unmedicated patients with acute schizophrenia
and 409 healthy volunteers, aged 18–65 years, were recruited for a
case–control analysis. The severity of schizophrenia symptoms was
assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Cardiac
autonomic function was evaluated by measuring heart rate variability
(HRV) parameters during the supine–standing–supine test.
Frequency-domain indices of HRV were obtained.


patients with acute schizophrenia consistently exhibited reduced mean
RR interval and HRV levels in a supine rest and standing position
compared with healthy volunteers. The severity of psychopathology, in
particular positive symptoms, was negatively correlated with cardiac
vagal control.


data suggest that acute schizophrenia is accompanied by cardiac
autonomic dysregulation. In view of the higher risk for cardiac
complications in these patients, one might also consider the
antipsychotic treatment in favour of improving cardiac autonomic
modulation. Further studies using larger patient groups and controlled
therapeutics may better understand the influence of antipsychotic
treatment on cardiac autonomic regulation in schizophrenia.


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