Heart rate variability measure in breast cancer patients and survivors: A systematic review

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Arab, Claudia
Dias, Daniel Penteado Martins
Barbosa, Renata Thaís de Almeida
Carvalho, Tatiana Dias de
Valenti, Vitor Engrácia [UNESP]
Crocetta, Tânia Brusque
Ferreira, Marcelo
Abreu, Luiz Carlos de
Ferreira, Celso

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Purpose: In the current study, we aimed to review literature findings showing the clinical importance of cardiac autonomic modulation assessed by heart rate variability analysis in breast cancer (BC) patients and survivors. Methods: We conducted a systematic review according to The PRISMA Statement in Medline, Scopus and Web of Science (_-2015) databases. The search was limited to articles in English language, published in peer-reviewed journals, and with adult age samples only (e.g., women, patients, or survivors, diagnosed with BC in any stage). We included observational studies and randomized trials. Detailed heart rate variability analysis (instruments, data collection protocol, and analysis methods) was required. Search terms included autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, autonomic dysfunction, vagal nervous and breast neoplasms, breast cancer and breast tumor. Results: Twelve studies were included in this review. The clinical importance of cardiac autonomic modulation assessed by heart rate variability analysis in BC patients and survivors is demonstrated by association with effects of BC surgery, and treatments, and the adverse effects of surgery and treatments on survivors (e.g., cardiotoxicity, fatigue, and stress). Limitations: The strength of evidence of included studies is low: small samples size and heterogeneity, presence of confounders, and observational studies design. Conclusions: The heart rate variability analysis could be used as a complementary non-invasive tool for the early diagnosis and better prognosis of autonomic dysfunction, and survival in BC patients. There are many potential clinical applications of heart rate variability analysis in BC patients, and the employment of such approaches could lead to lower impairment of autonomic function in this individuals.



Autonomic nervous system, Breast neoplasm, Cardiac electrophysiology, Cardiovascular physiology, Parasympathetic nervous system, Sympathetic nervous system

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Psychoneuroendocrinology, v. 68, p. 57-68.