IMPORTANCE: Altered heart rate variability has been associated with autonomic dysfunction in a number of disease profiles, in this work we elucidate differences in the biomarker among patients with all-cause sepsis and coronavirus disease 2019. OBJECTIVES: To measure heart rate variability metrics in critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients with comparison to all-cause critically ill sepsis patients. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective analysis of coronavirus disease 2019 patients admitted to an ICU for at least 24 hours at any of Emory Healthcare ICUs between March 2020 and April 2020 up to 5 days of ICU stay. The comparison group was a cohort of all-cause sepsis patients prior to coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Continuous waveforms were captured from the patient monitor. The electrocardiogram was then analyzed for each patient over a 300 seconds observational window that was shifted by 30 seconds in each iteration from admission till discharge. A total of 23 heart rate variability metrics were extracted in each iteration. We use the Kruskal-Wallis and Steel-Dwass tests (p < 0.05) for statistical analysis and interpretations of heart rate variability multiple measures. RESULTS: A total of 141 critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients met inclusion criteria, who were compared with 208 patients with all-cause sepsis. Three nonlinear markers, including the ratio of standard deviation derived from the Poincaré plot, sample entropy, and approximate entropy and four linear features, including mode of beat-to-beat interval, acceleration capacity, deceleration capacity, and the proportion of consecutive RR intervals that differ by more than 50 ms, were all statistically significant (p < 0.05) between the coronavirus disease 2019 and all-cause sepsis cohorts. The three nonlinear features and acceleration capacity, deceleration capacity, and beat-to-beat interval (mode) were statistically significant (p < 0.05) when comparing pairwise analysis among the combinations of survivors and nonsurvivors between the coronavirus disease 2019 and sepsis cohorts. Temporal analysis of the main markers showed low variability across the 5 days of analysis compared with sepsis patients. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this descriptive statistical study, heart rate variability measures were found to be statistically different across critically ill patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and distinct from bacterial sepsis.
- coronavirus disease 2019
- heart rate variability
- severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2