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Clinical Trial Summary

Heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-B) is a complementary, non-pharmacologic therapy that is being tested to see if it can help cancer survivors reduce their symptoms of pain, stress, insomnia, fatigue, or depression. HRV-B is an interactive procedure in which participants relax and breathe regularly while watching the a computer screen. The computer screen provides feedback that helps people increase their heart rate variability.

Clinical Trial Description

Cancer survivors often suffer from prolonged and persistent symptom clusters that can include: pain, stress, depression, fatigue, and insomnia; symptoms that have each been associated with inflammation. The number of cancer survivors in the United States is expected to triple by the year 2030. Thus, there is a compelling need to develop and refine effective methods to promote high quality cancer survivorship. Dysregulation of autonomic function is a key pathophysiological 'common denominator' whereby many cancer-related symptoms likely converge. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a valid, noninvasive measure of autonomic function with established pathological and psychophysiological attributes. Reduced HRV is a known mortality risk factor, and about 80% of advanced cancer patients exhibit autonomic dysregulation. Cancer survivors with reduced HRV have increased mortality risk relative to those with normal HRV. HRV biofeedback (HRV-B) is an interactive procedure whereby patients learn to increase HRV and restore autonomic balance. HRV coherence refers to a state of optimum HRV rhythm that produces physiological entrainment of HRV, respiration, and the baroreflex. With HRV coherence, consecutive inter-beat intervals cycle from maximum to minimum and back to maximum over a period of about 10 seconds, which is associated with increased parasympathetic and decreased sympathetic tone, and a heightened state of well-being including improved affect, cognition, and executive function. Previous research suggests that HRV-B interventions may be useful for reducing symptoms of: chronic pain, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), heart disease, and insomnia. HRV-B thus represents a promising complementary, nonpharmacological therapy that merits examination for relief of chronic pain and related symptoms among cancer survivors. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT03692624
Study type Interventional
Source Greenville Health System
Status Active, not recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date May 10, 2015
Completion date October 1, 2019

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