Job strain and heart rate variability in resident physicians within a general hospital.

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Job strain and heart rate variability in resident physicians within a general hospital.

Am J Ind Med. 2013 Jan;56(1):38-48

Authors: Hernández-Gaytan SI, Rothenberg SJ, Landsbergis P, Becerril LC, De León-León G, Collins SM, Díaz-Vásquez FJ

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association of heart rate variability with job strain in first year resident physicians.
METHODS: We performed the study at the "Manuel Gea González" General Hospital in Mexico City. 54 resident doctors were studied over a period of 24 hr in their first year of specialization. Two questionnaires were administered: the first on general demographics, and the second, the Job Content Questionnaire. Heart rate variability was evaluated through the frequency domain (low-frequency power, high-frequency power, and low-frequency power/high-frequency power ratio) and time domain (SDNN). The doctors wore a Holter monitor over a 24-hr period, which included a workday plus their on-call time. They recorded their activities in a log.
RESULTS: Compared to physicians in the "low strain" category, physicians working in the "passive" category had lower overall peak-to-peak cardiac variability (standard deviation of N-N intervals, SDNN), -9.08% (95% CI -17.97, 0.74), a -25% (95% CI -45.00, 0.22) lower high-frequency power, and -26.95% (95% CI -39.00, -12.53) lower low-frequency power. Physicians working in the "high strain" category had lower low-frequency power, -17.85% (95%CI -32.34, -0.25), and lower low-frequency/high-frequency ratio -24.29% (95% CI 38.08, 7.42) compared to those in the "low strain" category.
CONCLUSIONS: High job strain and low job control among medical residents were associated with several indicators of lowered heart rate variability. Thus, analysis of heart rate variability may be an informative marker for evaluating the physiological impacts of workplace stressors.

PMID: 22886873 [PubMed - in process]

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