Heart rate variability in hyperthyroidism: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Valentin Brusseau*, Igor Tauveron, Reza Bagheri, Ukadike Chris Ugbolue, Valentin Magnon, Jean-Baptiste Bouillon-Minois, Valentin Navel, Frédéric Dutheil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: Cardiovascular effects of thyroid hormones may be measured through heart rate variability (HRV). We sought to determine the impact of hyperthyroidism on HRV. 
Design: A systematic review and meta-analysis on the impact of hyperthyroidism on HRV. 
Methods: PubMed, Cochrane, Embase and Google Scholar were searched until 20 August 2021 for articles reporting HRV parameters in untreated hyperthyroidism and healthy controls. Random-effects meta-analysis was stratified by degree of hyperthyroidism for each HRV parameter: RR intervals (or Normal-to-Normal intervals—NN), SDNN (standard deviation of RR intervals), RMSSD (square root of the mean difference of successive RR intervals), pNN50 (percentage of RR intervals with >50ms of variation), total power (TP), LFnu (low-frequency normalized unit) and HFnu (high-frequency), VLF (very low-frequency), and LF/HF ratio. 
Results: We included 22 studies with 10,811 patients: 1002 with hyperthyroidism and 9809 healthy controls. There was a decrease in RR (effect size = −4.63, 95% CI −5.7 to −3.56), SDNN (−6.07, −7.42 to −4.71), RMSSD (−1.52, −2.18 to −0.87), pNN50 (−1.36, −1.83 to −0.88), TP (−2.05, −2.87 to −1.24), HFnu (−3.51, −4.76 to −2.26), and VLF power (−2.65, −3.74 to −1.55), and an increase in LFnu (2.66, 1.55 to 3.78) and LF/HF ratio (1.75, 1.02 to 2.48) (p < 0.01). Most parameters had ES that was twice as high in overt compared to subclinical hy-perthyroidism. Increased peripheral thyroid hormones and decreased TSH levels were associated with lower RR intervals. 
Conclusions: Hyperthyroidism is associated with a decreased HRV, which may be explained by the deleterious effect of thyroid hormones and TSH. The increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic activity may have clinical implications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3606
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2022


  • thyroid
  • biomarker
  • automatic nervous activity
  • prevention
  • public health


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