Here is the abstract from my paper. I hope it gets accepted. If not, I’ll post it here.
Heart Rate Variability in the Acupuncture Clinic: Clinical Correlations and Lessons Learned
Background: Heart Rate Variability (HRV) has gained traction as a noninvasive autonomic monitor to be used during acupuncture
interventions. The vast majority of studies have been done in controlled
academic settings, varying the points used, the type of stimulation, or the
HRV parameter measured. Correlating HRV response to treatment
outcomes has rarely been studied with notable exceptions. The utility of
Acupuncture Clinic HRV monitoring will be explored here.
Objectives: 1. To evaluate the feasibility of HRV analysis (frequency,
nonlinear, and time domains) during acupuncture treatment in the clinical
2. To correlate intra-treatment changes with clinical outcomes across a
variety conditions, i.e. to determine clinical relevance
Design, Setting and Patients: Retrospective, uncontrolled, case study of
patients presenting to a private acupuncture clinic.
Intervention: All patients received manual body acupuncture prescribed by
the tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) according to their
presenting pattern and diagnosis.
Main outcome measures: Patients’ assessments of progress and
functionality. Heart rate was measured during treatment after needles
were placed. The data were analyzed, filtering for artifact, comparing the
first 10 minutes of treatment versus the second 10 minutes of
treatment. LFR/HFR (Low frequency to high frequency ratio), Sample
Entropy, pnn50, and (non-normalized) HF readings were analyzed, though
only LFR/HFR reported.
Results: Results presented by the following representative
groups. “Profound responders,” “responders,” “non-responders,” and
“Relaxation Response” patients.
Conclusions: A decrease in the LFR/HFR from the first 10 minutes to the
second 10 minute segment remains the most consistently sensitive HRV
measurement correlating with positive clinical outcomes. HRV analysis in a
clinical setting is still highly problematic due to artifact, lack of controls,
and time constraints, but the results are provocative. Parameters for HRV
measurement in the clinic will be outlined and limitations discussed