BACKGROUND: Heart rate variability (HRV) declines after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of low-volume high-intensity interval training (LV-HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on HRV as well as, hemodynamic and echocardiography indices.METHODS: Forty-two men after CABG (55.12 ± 3.97 years) were randomly assigned into LV-HIIT, MICT, and control (CTL) groups. The exercise training in LV-HIIT consisted of 2-minute interval at 85-95 percent of maximal heart rate (HRmax), 2-minute interval at 50% of HRmax and 40-minute interval at 70% of HRmax in MICT for three sessions in a week, for 6-weeks. HRV parameters were evaluated by 24-hour Holter electrocardiography (ECG) recording, and echocardiography parameters at baseline and end of intervention were measured in all 3 groups.RESULTS: At the end of the intervention, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) significantly increased in LV-HIIT group (58.53 ± 7.26 percent) compared with MICT (52.26 ± 7.91 percent) and CTL (49.68 ± 7.27 percent) groups (P < 0.001). Furthermore, mean R-R interval, root mean square successive difference (RMSSD) of R-R interval, and standard deviation of R-R interval (SDRR) in LV-HIIT group considerably increased compared with MICT group (P < 0.001). High-frequency power (HF) significantly increased in LV-HIIT and MICT groups compared with CTL group (P < 0.001). On the other hand, low frequency (LF) and LF/HF ratio significantly decreased in LV-HIIT group in comparison with MICT group (P < 0.010).CONCLUSION: These results suggest that LV-HIIT has a greater effect on improvement of cardiac autonomic activities by increasing R-R interval, SDRR, RMSSD, and HF, and decreasing LF and LF/HF ratio in patients after CABG.