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Cardiac Autonomic Function in Midlife Women

Menopause; ePub 2018 Jun 18; Fu, et al

Midlife women with increased anxiety and depressive symptoms may have an unfavorable cardiac autonomic profile with potential implications for their overall cardiovascular (CV) risk, a recent study suggests. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were evaluated by validated self-administered questionnaires among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women in a randomized trial of slow-paced respiration for hot flashes. Pre-ejection period (PEP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), were measured at baseline and 12 weeks using impedance cardiography and electrocardiography. Researchers found:

  • Among 121 participants, greater state anxiety was associated with shorter PEP, reflecting higher sympathetic activity.
  • Greater trait anxiety and cognitive anxiety were associated with lower RSA, reflecting decreased parasympathetic activity.
  • Greater depressive symptoms were associated with lower RSA.


Fu P, Gibson CJ, Mendes WB, Schembri M, Huang AJ. Anxiety, depressive symptoms, and cardiac autonomic function in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women with hot flashes: a brief report. [Published online ahead of print June 18, 2018]. Menopause. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000001153.