Effects of altitude in high-rise building on the autonomic nervous modulation in healthy subjects

Pao Chen Lin, Wei Lung Chen, Wei Fong Kao, Yi Hsuan Yang, Cheng Deng Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study intended to study the effects of altitude in the high-rise building on the automatic nervous modulation in healthy subjects. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis was performed to assess the automatic nervous modulation of the subjects at three different altitudes in the air-conditioned high-rise building, i.e., the first basement (4m beneath sea level), the 31st floor (133m above sea level), and the 46th floor (200m above sea level). We found that the heart rate was significantly decreased, whereas the standard deviation of RR intervals (SDRR), total power and high frequency power were significantly increased when the subject was elevated to a higher altitude. The normalized low frequency power and low-/high-frequency power ratio on the 31st and 46th floors were significantly different between genders; however, no such difference was found on the first basement. The age correlated significantly and positively with the percentage change in the SDRR and coefficient of variation of RR intervals when the subjects were elevated from the first basement to the 46th floor. In conclusion, higher altitude in an air-conditioned high-rise building can lead to an increase in HRV/vagal modulation. The stay at a higher altitude in a high-rise building may lead to increased overall HRV and vagal modulation of a subject, especially for the elder people and the people who had a small HRV at ground level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 26 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Altitude
  • Autonomic nervous modulation
  • Heart rate variability
  • Vagal activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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