EMF Health-effects Research

Heart rate variability in workers exposed to medium-frequency electromagnetic fields.

Bortkiewicz A, Gadzicka E, Zmyslony M,

J Auton Nerv Syst 59(3):91-97, 1996

This study was undertaken to evaluate the neurovegetative regulation of the heart in workers occupationally exposed to medium frequency (MF) electromagnetic (EM) fields. The subjects were 71 workers of MF broadcast stations, aged 20-68 (mean 47.1) with the duration of work under exposure ranging from 2-40 years and 22 workers of radio link stations, aged 21-65 (mean 46.9) who were not exposed to MF EM fields.

The distribution of age and work tenure in both groups did not differ significantly. Heart rate variability (HRV) was analysed basing on 512 normal heart evolutions registered in resting, from the body surface, using the Medea-HRV system. The analysis concerned time-domain and frequency-domain parameters of HRV using fast fourier transformation. Power spectrum in the low (0.05-0.15 Hz) and high (0.15-0.35 Hz) frequency bands (LF and HF, respectively) was determined. Statistically insignificant differences found between exposed and non-exposed groups were found either in time- or in frequency-domain parameters of HRV.

No correlation between the power spectrum and the subjects age was noted. Such a relationship, however, could be observed in the control group. In the study group a statistically significant negative correlation was found between the maximum intensity of EM fields and HF power spectrum.

Thus it was concluded that occupational exposure to EM fields brings about impairments in the neurovegetative regulation of the cardiovascular function.

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