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Child Health Nurs Res > Volume 15(3):2009 > Article
Journal of Korean Academy of Child Health Nursing 2009;15(3):299-305.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4094/jkachn.2009.15.3.299
Cardiac Vagal Tone as an Index of Autonomic Nervous Function in Healthy Newborn and Premature Infants.
Hae Kyung Lee
Department of Nursing, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Korea. Leehk@kangwon.ac.kr
PURPOSE: Multiple studies have documented that high resting levels of cardiac vagal tone suggest higher levels of self-regulation. The aim of this study was to evaluate cardiac vagal tone as an indicator of autonomic nervous function in healthy newborn and premature infants. METHODS: This study was conducted using a descriptive comparison design and a convenience sampling strategy. The participants were 72 healthy and 62 premature infants delivered in a university hospital. Continuous heart rate data recordings from the infant's ECG were analyzed and Mxedit software was used to calculate mean heart period and an index of cardiac vagal tone. RESULTS: The healthy infants had significantly higher cardiac vagal tone than the premature infants, when the influence of gestational age was removed using analysis of covariance. However, there were no significant differences in heart rate and heart period between the two groups when the influence of gestational age was removed using analysis of covariance. CONCLUSION: The results of this study show that cardiac vagal tone may be used as an index for determining infant's autonomic nervous function. Nursing staff in pediatric departments can use cardiac vagal tone with ease, as this index can be calculated in a noninvasive method from the ECG.
Key words: Cardiac vagal tone; Healthy newborn infant; Premature infant
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