Cardiac autonomic dysfunction in type 2 diabetes - effect of hyperglycemia and disease duration

Mika P. Tarvainen, Tomi P. Laitinen, Jukka A. Lipponen, David J. Cornforth, Herbert F. Jelinek

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54 Scopus citations


Heart rate variability (HRV) is reduced in diabetes mellitus (DM) patients, suggesting dysfunction of cardiac autonomic regulation and an increased risk for cardiac events. The aim of this paper was to examine the associations of blood glucose level (BGL), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and duration of diabetes with cardiac autonomic regulation assessed by HRV analysis. Resting electrocardiogram (ECG), recorded over 20 min in supine position, and clinical measurements of 189 healthy controls and 93 type 2 DM (T2DM) patients were analyzed. HRV was assessed using several time-domain, frequency-domain, and non-linear methods. HRV parameters showed a clear difference between healthy controls and T2DM patients. Hyperglycemia was associated with increase in mean heart rate and decrease in HRV, indicated by negative correlations of BGL and HbA1c with mean RR interval and most of the HRV parameters. Duration of diabetes was strongly associated with decrease in HRV, the most significant decrease in HRV was found within the first 5-10 years of the disease. In conclusion, elevated blood glucose levels have an unfavorable effect on cardiac autonomic function and this effect is pronounced in long-term T2DM patients. The most significant decrease in HRV related to diabetes and thus presence of autonomic neuropathy was observed within the first 5-10 years of disease progression.

Original languageBritish English
Article number130
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 2014


  • Blood glucose
  • Cardiac autonomic neuropathy
  • Duration
  • HbA1c
  • Heart rate variability
  • Hyperglycemia


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