Sudden cardiac death (SCD) represents about 25% of deaths in clinical cardiology. The identification of risk factors for SCD is the philosopher's stone of cardiology and the identification of non-invasive markers of risk of SCD remains one of the most important goals for the scientific community.

The aim of this review is to analyze the state of the art around the heart rate variability (HRV) as a predictor factor for SCD.

HRV is probably the most analyzed index in cardiovascular risk stratification technical literature, therefore an important number of models and methods have been developed.

Nowadays, low HRV has been shown to be independently predictive of increased mortality in post- myocardial infarction patients, heart failure patients, in contrast with the data of the general population.

Contrariwise, the relationship between HRV and SCD has received scarce attention in low-risk cohorts. Furthermore, in general population the attributable risk is modest and the cost/benefit ratio is not always convenient.

The HRV evaluation could become an important tool for health status in risks population, even though the use of HRV alone for risk stratification of SCD is limited and further studies are needed.