This pilot study was designed to describe heart rate variability (HRV), anxiety, anger, denial, and depression during the first 4 days and 6 months after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The sample was composed of 21 post-AMI males aged 40 to 83-State anxiety was elevated early. At 6 months it had significantly decreased. The nonpower measure of HRV, the Kleiger global standard deviation, was decreased to a mean score of 86 (SD = 29) msec during AMI and was 117 (SD = 30) msec at 6 months. Although there were no significant correlations between HRV, psychological response, age, and education, there were moderate correlations between HRV and slate anger (r =.33), denial (r =.35), and education (v =.45). HRV, as measured by the power spectral density function of an autoregressive model, demonstrated an increased peak across the band of frequency associated with the high-frequency components of the parasympathetic system and a decreased peak across the band associated with the low-frequency components of the sympathetic system at 6 months as compared to the AMI period.
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