The Washington University School of Medicine Heart Rate Variability Laboratory provides expertise is all aspects of heart rate variability data collection, study design, analysis and interpretation of results. Heart rate variability analysis provides insights in to the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and has proven utility in risk stratitication in different populations and 24-hour or longer recordings can provide information about sleep and sleep disorders.  Heart rate variability can be assessed from any continuous ECG recordings in human or animals including Holter recordings, polysomnograms and ICU monitors. Provides validation for heart rate recordings from commercial self-monitoring devices. The lab provides technical support for data collection, Holter scanning, calculation of multiple measures of heart rate variability, graphical analysis and assistance with data analysis, grant writing and manuscript preparation.  Large datasets of scanned Holter recordings, digitized Holter ECGs, polysomnograms and scanned polysomnogram ECGs are also available for novel collaborative applications. The lab also provides training opportunities for volunteer research assistants, including non-resident medical students, work study students, participants in the STARS program for high school student and Washington University Students doing a research thesis. Intensive and supervised training in HRV methods is also available on a paid basis. Currently all activities are virtual , including trainings, but data collection for ongoing human  studies is accomplished by providing a small MyPatch Holter recorder to subjects and instructing them on how to hook themselves up.  The recorder can store up to 5 days of continuous ECGs on 3 channels.  Patients remove the recorder and return it via overnight delivery and the signal is uploaded to Box where it can be accessed for analysis.

Core Description



Service available to All entities, including for-profit organizations.

Priority service for All entities, including for-profit organizations.


  • Holter analysis for measures of heart rate variability, ectopy counts, ST changes, T-wave alternans, abnormal rhythms and detection of sleep-disordered breathing and abnormal sleep patterns.
  • HRV is a surrogate for cardiac autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning, it can be used cross-sectionally to relate ANS functioning to different clinical conditions, as a predictor of outcomes, or, prospectively, to assess changes over time with treatment, progression or aging.
  • Both human (of any age) and animal data can be analyzed.
  • HRV can also be calculated from externally generated files if an annotate beat-to-beat file is available.
  • The finished products, in general, are a Holter report, an EXCEL or SPSS file with multiple measures of (usually) 24-hour, daytime and nighttime time domain, frequency domain, non-linear heart rate variability and heart rate turbulence, atrial and ventricular ectopy counts, a Holter report, a series of hourly beat-to-beat instantaneous heart rate tachograms that have been overread in order to correct possible scanning errors, hourly HRV power spectral plots and hourly HRV scatterplots (Poincare plots) all in .pdf format.


  • A MARS PC Holter analyzer and a Cardioscan Holter analyzer
  • MyPatch Holter recorders, a tiny FDA approved Holter device that records 3 channels of ECG for up to 5 days and is affixed to a single patch electrode on the sternum are available for loan for pilot studies
  • Multiple MATLAB programs for graphical analyses and numeric HRV analyse
  • A Sun workstation for HRV calculations and a cloud-based server for data storage and back up.
  • Currently all activities are virtual which does not limit what can be done.


Please contact this core directly for pricing information.

Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC)
Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS)
Center on Biological Rhythms and Sleep ICOBRAS)