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A recent suicide attempt and the heartbeat: Electrophysiological findings from a trans-diagnostic cohort of patients and healthy controls


Rüesch, Annia; Villar de Araujo, Tania; Bankwitz, Anna; Hörmann, Christoph; Adank, Atalìa; Ip, Cheng-Teng; Schoretsanitis, Georgios; Kleim, Birgit; Olbrich, Sebastian (2023). A recent suicide attempt and the heartbeat: Electrophysiological findings from a trans-diagnostic cohort of patients and healthy controls. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 157:257-263.

Abstract

Suicidal behavior is influenced by a multitude of factors, making prediction and prevention of suicide attempts (SA) a challenge. A useful tool to uncover underlying pathophysiology or propose new therapy approaches are biomarkers, especially within the context of point-of-care tests. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a well-established biomarker of mental health, and measures the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Previous studies reported a correlation between lower PNS activity and suicidality. However, most studies involved participants from a healthy population, patients without history of suicide attempts, or patients with a single diagnosis. 52 in-patients with a recent suicide attempt (<6 months), and 43 controls without history of SA or psychiatric diagnoses confirmed study participation. The included patients age ranged between 18 and 65 years, 65% had psychiatric comorbidities. Patients with dementia, cognitive impairments, acute psychosis, chronic non suicidal self-harming behavior, or current electroconvulsive therapy were excluded. A 15-min resting state electrocardiography was recorded with two bipolar electrodes attached to the right and left insides of the wrists. The multiple regression analyses showed lower parasympathetic, and higher sympathetic activity in patients compared to controls. Partial correlation found a positive trend result between self-reported suicidality and the very low frequency band. ROC curve analysis revealed an acceptable to excellent clinical accuracy of HRV parameters. Therefore, HRV parameters could be reliable discriminative biomarkers between in-patients with a recent SA and healthy controls. One limitation is the lack of a control group consisting of in-patients without life-time suicidal ideation or attempts.

Abstract

Suicidal behavior is influenced by a multitude of factors, making prediction and prevention of suicide attempts (SA) a challenge. A useful tool to uncover underlying pathophysiology or propose new therapy approaches are biomarkers, especially within the context of point-of-care tests. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a well-established biomarker of mental health, and measures the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Previous studies reported a correlation between lower PNS activity and suicidality. However, most studies involved participants from a healthy population, patients without history of suicide attempts, or patients with a single diagnosis. 52 in-patients with a recent suicide attempt (<6 months), and 43 controls without history of SA or psychiatric diagnoses confirmed study participation. The included patients age ranged between 18 and 65 years, 65% had psychiatric comorbidities. Patients with dementia, cognitive impairments, acute psychosis, chronic non suicidal self-harming behavior, or current electroconvulsive therapy were excluded. A 15-min resting state electrocardiography was recorded with two bipolar electrodes attached to the right and left insides of the wrists. The multiple regression analyses showed lower parasympathetic, and higher sympathetic activity in patients compared to controls. Partial correlation found a positive trend result between self-reported suicidality and the very low frequency band. ROC curve analysis revealed an acceptable to excellent clinical accuracy of HRV parameters. Therefore, HRV parameters could be reliable discriminative biomarkers between in-patients with a recent SA and healthy controls. One limitation is the lack of a control group consisting of in-patients without life-time suicidal ideation or attempts.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological Psychiatry, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:1 January 2023
Deposited On:05 Jan 2023 09:22
Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-3956
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.11.020
PubMed ID:36516500
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)