Some studies have reported that recumbent position may have advantages in patients with heart disease and in pregnancy. However, it remains controversial whether recumbent position affects autonomic nervous system activity and hemodynamics in healthy adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate alterations in heart rate variability (HRV) and hemodynamics in the supine, left recumbent and right recumbent positions in healthy young adults. A total of 80 participants aged 22.8 ± 3.1 years were enrolled in this observational study. Fifty-eight volunteers (29 men and 29 women) maintained the supine position followed by the left and right recumbent positions, while electrocardiographic data were recorded for spectral analysis of HRV to assess cardiac vagal nerve and sympathetic nerve activities. The heart rate (HR) was significantly lower in the left recumbent position than in the other positions. There were no statistically significant differences in HRV among the three positions. Considering the possibility that the echographic procedure affects autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity, the other 22 participants (11 men and 11 women) underwent an echographic evaluation of hemodynamics in the heart and inferior vena cava (IVC) across the three positions. Although a low HR was also observed, there were no statistically significant differences in the IVC or the heart blood volume between the supine and the left recumbent positions. A postural change to the left recumbent position does not affect the cardiac blood circulation or ANS activity, though it does decrease HR in healthy young adults. This finding indicates that the lower HR in the left recumbent position is not attributable to the ANS activity.
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