I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2021 Nov-Dec

Pain Rep



Scoping review of the association between postsurgical pain and heart rate variability parameters.


So V, Balanaser M, Klar G, Leitch J, McGillion M, Devereaux PJ, Arellano R, Parlow J, Gilron I
Pain Rep. 2021 Nov-Dec; 6(4):e977.
PMID: 35155967.


Surgical interventions can elicit neuroendocrine and sympathovagal responses, leading to cardiac autonomic imbalance. Cardiac complications account for approximately 30% of postoperative complications. Altered heart rate variability (HRV) was initially described in the 1970s as a predictor of acute coronary syndromes and has more recently been shown to be an independent predictor of postoperative morbidity and mortality after noncardiac surgery. In general, HRV reflects autonomic balance, and altered HRV measures have been associated with anesthetic use, chronic pain conditions, and experimental pain. Despite the well-documented relationship between altered HRV and postsurgical outcomes and various pain conditions, there has not been a review of available evidence describing the association between postsurgical pain and HRV. We examined the relationship between postsurgical pain and HRV. MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched until December 2020 and included all studies with primary data. Two reviewers independently assessed risk of bias for each study using the criteria outlined in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Review of Interventions. A total of 8 studies and 1002 participants were included. Studies examined the association of postsurgical pain and HRV or analgesia nociception index derived from HRV. There was a statistically significant association between HRV measures and postsurgical pain in 6 of 8 studies. Heterogeneity of studies precluded meta-analyses. No studies reported cardiovascular outcomes. There is a potential association between postsurgical pain and HRV or analgesia nociception index, although results are likely impacted by confounding variables. Future studies are required to better delineate the relationship between postsurgical pain and HRV and impacts on cardiovascular outcomes.