Article Text

Non-invasive real-time measurements of cardiac vagal tone in dogs with cardiac disease
  1. C. J. L. Little, BVMS, PhD, DVC,
  2. S.W. J. Reid, BVMS, PhD, DipECVPH, FRSE1,
  3. P. O. O. Julu, BSc, PhD and
  4. S. Hansen, BSc, PhD2
  1. 1 Comparative Epidemiology and Informatics, Institute of Comparative Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1QH
  2. 2 Peripheral Nerve and Autonomic Unit, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow G51 4TF
  1. Barton Veterinary Hospital, 34 New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3BH
  2. Department of Statistics and Modelling Science, University of Strathclyde, Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XH


In dogs with spontaneous heart disease, an electronically generated measurement of cardiac vagal tone, the cardiac index of parasympathetic activity, was a sensitive, simple and inexpensive measure of the severity of heart failure. Dogs with cardiac disease and an index score less than 3 were at 15˙8 (95 per cent confidence interval 2˙9 to 87˙2) times the risk of dying within a year than those with a score of 3 and over. The measurement of the index provided an objective and reliable beat-by-beat measurement of cardiac vagal tone, which was prognostically useful in dogs with heart disease.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.