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Treatment of Reduced Heart Rate Variability Associated With Major Depression With Electroconvulsive Therapy

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00209066
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 21, 2005
Last Update Posted : November 19, 2013
The Dana Foundation
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Dominique Musselman, Emory University

Brief Summary:

The purpose of this study is to evaluate alterations in sympathetic tone in patients with major depression with and without ischemic heart disease and then to reevaluate these patients after 8 treatments with electroconvulsive therapy(ECT). We expect to support the hypothesis that HRV are pathophysiologically associated with the state of major depression. We hypothesize the following:

  1. Heart rate variability (HRV) will be decreased prior to treatment of depression in comparison to post-treatment measures of HRV.
  2. After 8 treatments with ECT, HRV will be increased under basal conditions.

Condition or disease
Major Depressive Disorder

Detailed Description:

There is considerable evidence that patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD) and concurrent major depression have a less favorable prognosis than patients with IHD alone. Indeed, a number of recent studies implicate major depression in the pathophysiologic progression of cardiovascular disease as an independent risk factor, rather than a reaction to cardiovascular illness. This conclusion is supported by multiple recent studies (Anda et al; 1993; Markowitz and Matthews, 1991; Musselman et al., 1994, 1995).

Increased sympathetic tone and subsequent diminished heart rate variability secondary to elevated circulating levels of catecholamines provides a possible pathophysiologic link between IHD and depression. For example, Carney et al (1988) have established the correlation of increased heart rate and decreased heart rate variability (HRV) in patients with major depression and IHD. Thus it follows that enhancement of sympathetic tone may be important in the independent development of IHD and major depression. The interplay among these systems remains to be investigated. The present study seeks to determine the relationship between major depression and sympathetic tone.

The primary objective of the Research Protocol is to determine the effects of major depressive disorder (MDD) (see Specific Aim 1), and its treatment, on autonomic function (see Specific Aim 2). Twenty-five depressed patients with and 25 depressed patients without a history of ischemic cardiovascular disease will be recruited to this study.

To be determined is whether the exaggerated platelet reactivity and diminished HRV exhibited by depressed patients are affected by treatment with ECT. Autonomic function in depressed patients will be studied longitudinally before and after ECT. Heart rate variability (HRV) in depressed patients who exhibit a therapeutic response to ECT and who exhibited diminished HRV prior to treatment will support the hypothesis that HRV are pathophysiologically associated with the state of major depression. Successful ECT treatment of depressed mood that is not associated with normalization of HRV may indicate that: a) HRV is unrelated to Major Depressive Disorder, or b) HRV may reflect a pre-existing "trait" phenomena of major depressive disorder, or c) directly improve HRV.

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Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 50 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: A Means to Enhanced Cardiovascular Outcomes: Reduction of Exaggerated Platelet Activity Through Treatment of Depression.
Study Start Date : November 1998
Study Completion Date : April 2005

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 90 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Patients with major depressive disorder presenting for a course of electroconvulsive therapy.

Inclusion Criteria:


Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients will not be accepted into the study if they abuse alcohol or drugs.

Patients will be excluded from the study if they have had an MI within the past three months, unstable crescendo angina or ongoing warfarin treatment

Patients also will not be accepted into the study if ECT will be harmful to them. These patients include:

  1. those who have had a recent MI (<3 months)
  2. those who have an infection of the brain,
  3. those who have a condition in which there is increased intracranial pressure (e.g. a brain tumor)
  4. those who cannot tolerate general anesthesia.

Any patient with a current DSM-IV Axis I diagnosis other than major depression will be excluded from the study.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00209066

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United States, Georgia
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 30322
Sponsors and Collaborators
Emory University
The Dana Foundation
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Principal Investigator: Dominique L Musselman, MD,MS Emory University

Publications of Results:
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Responsible Party: Dominique Musselman, Associate Professor, Emory University Identifier: NCT00209066    
Other Study ID Numbers: 0422-1998
98052113 ( Other Identifier: Other )
First Posted: September 21, 2005    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: November 19, 2013
Last Verified: November 2013
Keywords provided by Dominique Musselman, Emory University:
Major Depressive Disorder
Electroconvulsive Therapy
Platelet Activation
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Depressive Disorder
Depressive Disorder, Major
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders