Effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiac autonomic modulation

Natália Maria Perseguini, Anielle Cristhine De Medeiros Takahashi, Juliana Cristina Milan, Patrícia Rehder Dos Santos, Valéria Ferreira Camargo Neves, Audrey Borghi-Silva, Ester Silva, Nicola Montano, Alberto Porta, Aparecida Maria Catai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on heart rate variability (HRV) in healthy postmenopausal women. Methods: Two groups were evaluated: group 1 (G1): 20 women not undergoing HRT (60 ± 5.89 years), group 2 (G2): 20 women undergoing HRT (59 ± 5.70 years). The HRTs involved were either conjugated equine estrogen with or without medroxyprogesterone, synthetic estrogen hormone, estradiol associated with norethisterone acetate or isoflavonoids. Electrocardiogram was recorded in the supine position for 10 min. Spectral analysis included low and high frequencies in absolute (LF and HF) and normalized units (LFnu and HFnu), which are predominantly cardiac sympathetic modulation (CSM) and cardiac vagal modulation (CVM) indicators, respectively. The LF/HF ratio was also calculated. Symbolic analysis involved the following indexes: 0V % (CSM indicator), 1V % (CSM and CVM indicators), 2LV % (predominantly CVM indicator) and 2UV % (CVM indicator). Shannon and conditional entropies were also calculated. Results: Spectral analysis demonstrated that HRT affected HRV. LF, LFnu and LF/HF ratio were higher (showing increased CSM), while HFnu was lower (representing decreased CVM) in G2 than in G1. Correlations between complexity indices and HFnu were significant and positive only in G1. Interpretation: Women undergoing HRT presented higher CSM and lower CVM than those who were not. Moreover, the expected positive relationship between CVM and complexity of HRV was found only in control group, thus indicating that CVM in women under therapy drop below a minimal value necessary to the association to become apparent, suggesting an unfavorable cardiac autonomic modulation in spite of HRT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Conditional entropy
  • Heart rate variability
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Spectral analysis
  • Symbolic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems


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