UC San Diego researchers investigated whether reduced heart rate variability (HRV) before combat deployment conferred increased risk of a PTSD diagnosis after deployment. HRV from 1500 Marines were measured before combat deployment and again 4-6 months post deployment. The study found that U.S. Marines with reduced HRV prior to deployment displayed increased vulnerability to PTSD upon return, suggesting that a low HRV is a risk factor for developing PTSD.
The study recorded beat-to-beat heart rate using a fingertip PPG sensor and VivoSense provided a customized HRV analysis for the particular measurement protocol. HRV analysis importantly included suitable tools to manage the occurrence of confounding measurement artifact.