Heart rate variability and surgical pleth index under anesthesia in poor and normal sleepers

Chun Ning Ho, Pei Han Fu, Jen Yin Chen, Kuo Chuan Hung, Jia Hui Chang, Chung Kang Peng, Albert C. Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Poor sleep quality is associated with autonomic dysfunctions and altered pain perception and tolerance. To investigate whether autonomic dysregulations related to insomnia would still exist under general anesthesia, we adopt heart rate variability (HRV) analysis to evaluate ANS activity and surgical pleth index (SPI) to compare nociceptive/anti-nociceptive balance. We enrolled 61 adult females scheduled for gynecological surgeries under general anesthesia. All the subjects were ASA Class I to III without using medicines affecting HRV. We used the Insomnia Severity Index to evaluate sleep qualities. ECG data were recorded and signals which denote four different surgical stages were extracted (baseline, incision, mid-surgery, and end of surgery). We analyzed the HRV changes across the whole surgical period and differences among good and poor sleepers. We also compared the SPI differences among groups. For baseline HRV analysis, we found significant differences in the RMSSD (p = 0.043), pNN50 (p = 0.029), VLF power (p = 0.035), LF power (p = 0.004), and HF power (p = 0.037) between the good and poor sleeper groups. However, all intergroup differences disappeared after anesthesia induction. Temporal HRV changes significantly among different perioperative stages (RMSSD, p < 0.001; pNN50, p = 0.004; LF, p < 0.001; and HF, p < 0.001). Patients with different sleep qualities did not exhibit different SPI levels in all four periods. Poor sleepers exhibited attenuated parasympathetic activities at the baseline but no differences after the induction. Nociceptive/anti-nociceptive balance seems not be altered by poor sleep condition under general anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-1319
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • General anesthesia
  • Heart rate variability
  • Sleep quality
  • Surgical pleth index


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