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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 124 (1999) 447460 Understanding autonomic sympathovagal balance from short-term

Summary: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 124 (1999) 447­460
Understanding autonomic sympathovagal balance from short-term
heart rate variations. Are we analyzing noise?
Jordi Altimiras *
Department of Zoophysiology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Uni6ersity of Aarhus, Building 131, Uni6ersitetsparken,
DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Received 21 September 1998; received in revised form 15 March 1999; accepted 30 March 1999
Heart rate variations reflect the output of the complex control of the heart mediated by the autonomic nervous system. Because
of that, they also encode different types of information, namely the efferent outflow of reflex mechanisms involved in the
beat-to-beat control of cardiac function, the efferent activity of neurohumoral elements involved in the control of other
cardiovascular parameters and random noise resulting from the hysteresis of the different controllers. The degree to which power
spectrum estimation methods will uncover the periodic component of heart rate variations is in direct relation with the status of
the system under study. Although the utility of spectral methods is now established in mammalian research, very little is known
on the utility of these techniques in non-mammalian cardiovascular research. This review covers this space by discussing the
physiological significance of heart rate variations in non-mammalian vertebrates. A detailed account of the different steps of the
technique, its limitations and the ways to overcome these problems are also presented. These are: the recording of the cardiac
event signal, the detection and digital processing methods, the satisfaction of stationarity conditions, the problem of spectral
leakage and the different methods to estimate the power spectrum. © 1999 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.


Source: Altimiras, Jordi - Department of Biology, Linköpings Universitet


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology