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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 679345, 7 pages
Research Article

Gender Differences in Age-Related Changes in Cardiac Autonomic Nervous Function

1Department of Physiology, K.S Hedge Medical Academy, Nitte University, Mangalore 575018, India
2Department of Physiology, St. John's Medical College, Bangalore 560034, India

Received 15 July 2011; Revised 20 October 2011; Accepted 23 October 2011

Academic Editor: Antony Bayer

Copyright © 2012 Shailaja Moodithaya and Sandhya T. Avadhany. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ageing is associated with changes in cardiac autonomic control as measured by Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Not many studies have explored the influence of gender on age-related changes in cardiac autonomic regulation. This study evaluated the gender differences in age-associated changes in cardiac autonomic nervous activity by assessing HRV using frequency domain analysis of short-term stationary R-R intervals. HRV was studied in healthy males and females ranging in age from 6 to 55 years. Total power and absolute power in High-Frequency (HF) and Low-Frequency (LF) components as well as HF in normalized unit declined significantly with ageing. The HF/LF ratio was significantly higher in the adolescent and adult females compared to male of these age groups. This study suggests that gender differences exist in age-related changes in HRV. The finding that gender differences are limited to adolescent and adult age groups may indicate a role for female sex hormones in cardiac autonomic modulation.