Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized-Controlled Study

Hsueh Chen Lu, Richard Gevirtz*, Chi Cheng Yang, Alexander O. Hauson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


To determine whether heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BF) training, compared to a psychoeducation control condition can strengthen the integration of the central and autonomic nervous systems as measured by neuropsychological measures in patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Participants were recruited from two university hospitals in Taipei, Taiwan. A total of 49 participants with mTBI were recruited for this study. Forty-one participants completed the study, 21 in the psychoeducation group and 20 in the HRV-BF group. Randomized controlled study. The Taiwanese Frontal Assessment Battery, the Semantic Association of Verbal Fluency Test, the Taiwanese version of the Word Sequence Learning Test, the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test-Revised, and the Trail Making Test were used as performance-based neuropsychological functioning measures. The Checklist of Post-concussion Symptoms, the Taiwanese version of the Dysexecutive Questionnaire, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the National Taiwan University Irritability Scale were used as self-report neuropsychological functioning measures. Furthermore, heart rate variability pre- vs. post-training was used to measure autonomic nervous system functioning. Executive, information processing, verbal memory, emotional neuropsychological functioning, and heart rate variability (HRV) were improved significantly in the HRV-BF group at the posttest whereas the psychoeducation group showed no change. HRV biofeedback is a feasible technique following mild TBI that can improve neuropsychological and autonomic nervous system functioning. HRV-BF may be clinically feasible for the rehabilitation of patients with mTBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-421
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Psychophysiology Biofeedback
Issue number4
StatePublished - 12 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s).


  • Central and autonomic nervous systems
  • Heart rate variability
  • Heart rate variety biofeedback
  • Mild traumatic brain injury
  • Neuropsychological functioning
  • Rehabilitation
  • Heart Rate/physiology
  • Humans
  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Cognition
  • Biofeedback, Psychology/methods
  • Brain Concussion


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