Diminishment of respiratory sinus arrhythmia foreshadows doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The development of a microcomputer-based device permits quick, simple, and noninvasive quantification of the respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) during quiet breathing.

Methods and results

We prospectively and serially measured the radionuclide left ventricular ejection fraction and the RSA amplitude in 34 cancer patients receiving up to nine monthly bolus treatments with doxorubicin hydrochloride (60 mg/m2). Of the eight patients who ultimately developed symptomatic doxorubicin-induced congestive heart failure, seven (87.5%) demonstrated a significant decline in RSA amplitude; five of 26 subjects without clinical symptoms of cardiotoxicity (19.2%) showed a similar RSA amplitude decline. On average, significant RSA amplitude decline occurred 3 months before the last planned doxorubicin dose in patients destined to develop clinical congestive heart failure.


Overall, RSA amplitude abnormality proved to be a more specific predictor of clinically significant congestive heart failure than did serial resting radionuclide ejection fractions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hrushesky, WJ; Fader, DJ; Berestka, JS; Sommer, M; Hayes, J; Cope, FO

Published Date

  • August 1991

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 84 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 697 - 707

PubMed ID

  • 1860214

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1524-4539

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0009-7322

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1161/01.cir.84.2.697


  • eng