Heart rate variability in the irritable bowel syndrome: a review of the literature.

06:00 EST 20th January 2012 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Heart rate variability in the irritable bowel syndrome: a review of the literature."

Background  Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often present with disturbances of bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation) and abdominal pain/discomfort that are modulated by the autonomic nerve system (ANS). In this narrative review, we analyzed studies that measured ANS functioning in IBS by means of heart rate variability (HRV). Methods  The PUBMED was searched with the keywords 'irritable bowel syndrome' AND ('heart rate variability' OR 'autonomic function'). We included only papers that used 'traditional' HRV indices and diagnosed IBS based on Manning or Rome criteria. Studies were sub-grouped according to methodological features of HRV analysis (24-h monitoring, short-term laboratory records, records during sleep). Key Results  Most studies reported no difference in HRV when the IBS population was compared to healthy controls. Dividing the IBS sample into subgroups - according to their predominant bowel symptoms, the severity of clinical course, the presence of depressive symptoms, or a history of abuse in the past - revealed changes in autonomic functioning. Conclusions & Inferences  Patients with IBS appear to experience symptoms that may be the result of changes in ANS functioning. HRV measures in clinical routine may allow assessing these changes, but further studies performed in a standardized fashion should improve the validity of HRV measures for clinical research first.


Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital, Tübingen, Germany Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society
ISSN: 1365-2982


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Published materials which provide an examination of recent or current literature. Review articles can cover a wide range of subject matter at various levels of completeness and comprehensiveness based on analyses of literature that may include research findings. The review may reflect the state of the art. It also includes reviews as a literary form.

An article or book published after examination of published material on a subject. It may be comprehensive to various degrees and the time range of material scrutinized may be broad or narrow, but the reviews most often desired are reviews of the current literature. The textual material examined may be equally broad and can encompass, in medicine specifically, clinical material as well as experimental research or case reports. State-of-the-art reviews tend to address more current matters. A review of the literature must be differentiated from HISTORICAL ARTICLE on the same subject, but a review of historical literature is also within the scope of this publication type.

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A disorder with chronic or recurrent colonic symptoms without a clearcut etiology. This condition is characterized by chronic or recurrent ABDOMINAL PAIN, bloating, MUCUS in FECES, and an erratic disturbance of DEFECATION.

A subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum that occurs in the GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT of human infants and is used as a PROBIOTIC. It may also be used in the treatment of IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME.

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