Effect of short-term mental stress on time- domain indices of heart rate variability in obese individuals – A case- control study


  • Priya S.A.
  • R. Rajalakshmi




Heart rate variability, time domain indices, mental stress, parasympathetic withdrawal



Introduction and Aim: Mental stress may impact dramatically on dynamic autonomic control on heart. Many studies have demonstrated association of high body mass index (BMI) with greater risk for cardiovascular disease with disturbance in autonomic neuronal activity. Analysis of Heart rate variability (HRV)during acute mental stress assesses the autonomic status of the individual. Hence, we aimed to study the effect of acute mental stress on time domain measures in obese adults.


Materials and Methods:Sixty male volunteers of 30 each in study group (obese individuals) and control group (non-obese individuals) were recruited for the study. A basal recording of ECG in lead II was done on all the individuals. Then they underwent mental arithmetic stress task for 5 minutes during which again ECG was recorded. The change in time domain measures of HRV during rest and stress task was analyzed and compared between both the groups.


Results: Analysis of time domain measures of HRV revealed a statistically significant increase (p ? 0.001) in mean heart rate in both obese and non-obese individuals, while rMSSD(root mean square differences of successive RR interval) and SDNN (standard deviation of all NN intervals) showed a statistically significant (p? 0.001) decrease in obese individuals and non-obese individuals did not show any statistically significant change during the mental stress task.


Conclusion: In response to acute mental stress there was increased heart rate in both the groups. But the autonomic neuronal activity differed by way of sympathetic dominance in non-obese individuals and parasympathetic withdrawal in obese individuals.


Author Biographies

Priya S.A.

Department of Physiology, JSS Medical College affiliated to JSSAHER, S. S. Nagar, Bannimantap, Mysuru 570015, Karnataka, India

R. Rajalakshmi

JSS Medical College affiliated to JSSAHER, S. S. Nagar, Bannimantap, Mysuru 570015, Karnataka, India


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How to Cite

S.A. P, Rajalakshmi R. Effect of short-term mental stress on time- domain indices of heart rate variability in obese individuals – A case- control study. Biomedicine [Internet]. 2021Jul.7 [cited 2021Jul.24];41(2):274-7. Available from: https://biomedicineonline.org/index.php/home/article/view/795



Original Research Articles