Dr Gopal Krushna Pal, professor of physiology at the Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry in southern India has been awarded a prestigious national award for his spectral analysis of heart rate variability to predict hypertension.
The Professor R C Shukla Oration Award for 2008 has been conferred by the Association of Physiologists and Pharmacologists of India (APPI).
His research, 'Spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) may predict the future development of essential hypertension', was adjudged the best research publication in cardiovascular physiology.
Dr Pal led the JIPMER team that developed a hypothesis to predict hypertension much before its clinical manifestation, by analysing the variations in heart rate for a few minutes. Team members included his wife Pravati Pal, assistant professor of physiology, JIPMER, and his three students — Nivedita Nanda, PhD scholar (biochemistry), D Amudharaj and S Karthik, both from department of physiology.
Dr Pal, while outlining the principle of his hypothesis, said the heart rate varied even in a single respiratory cycle of inhalation and exhalation and such variation is analysed for about 15 minutes with the help of an electrocardiogram. The ratio of heart rate variation is then calculated through a biopac system. "Patients with increased HRV ratio are prone to hypertension. The HRV ratio should be between 0.7 and 1.5, and patients with ratios between 1.5 and 2.5 fall on the borderline; those with ratios above 2.5 are prone to hypertension in the next 10 years," Dr Pal told the Times of India.
Dr Pal's paper was published in 'Medical Hypothesis,' a journal brought out by a USbased Elsevier, a leading publisher of science and health information. The publication house, which normally takes about six months to review a reserach paper, took only four days in Dr Pal's case, impressed by the significance of the hypothesis, it is reported.
Dr Pal said his team had for the past five years analysed the connection between HRV ratios and incidence of hypertension in pregnant women and normal individuals. "We have analysed more than 350 patients. Our research will open up new avenues in predicting a host of ailments," the award-winning doctor said.