Influence of computer work under time pressure on cardiac activity

2016-03-23T09:19:12Z (GMT) by Ping Shi Sijung Hu Hongliu Yu
Computer users are often under stress when required to complete computer work within a required time. Work stress has repeatedly been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The present study examined the effects of time pressure workload during computer tasks on cardiac activity in 20 healthy subjects. Heart rate, time domain and frequency domain indices of heart rate variability (HRV) and Poincare plot parameters were compared among five computer tasks and two rest periods. Faster heart rate and decreased standard deviation of R-R interval were noted in response to computer tasks under time pressure. The Poincare plot parameters showed significant differences between different levels of time pressure workload during computer tasks, and between computer tasks and the rest periods. In contrast, no significant differences were identified for the frequency domain indices of HRV. The results suggest that the quantitative Poincare plot analysis used in this study was able to reveal the intrinsic nonlinear nature of the autonomically regulated cardiac rhythm. Specifically, heightened vagal tone occurred during the relaxation computer tasks without time pressure. In contrast, the stressful computer tasks with added time pressure stimulated cardiac sympathetic activity.