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Sympathetic nervous system representation in time and frequency domain indices of heart rate variability



Sympathetic nervous system representation in time and frequency domain indices of heart rate variability



European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 79(1): 69-73



This study evaluated the contributions of sympathetic and parasympathetic modulation to heart rate variability during situations in which vagal and sympathetic tone predominated. In a placebo-controlled, randomized, double blind blockade study, six young healthy male individuals received propranolol (0.2 mg x kg(-1)), atropine (0.04 mg x kg(-1)), propranolol plus atropine, or placebo infusions over 4 days. Time-domain indices were calculated during 40 min of rest and 20 min of exercise at 70% of maximal exercise intensity. Spectrum analysis, using fast Fourier transformation, was also performed at rest and during the exercise. The time-domain indices standard deviation of R-R intervals, mean of the standard deviations of all R-R intervals for all 5-min segments, percentage of number of pairs of adjacent R-R intervals differing by more than 50 ms, and square root of the mean of the sum of squares of differences between adjacent R-R intervals were reduced after atropine and propranolol plus atropine. Propranolol alone caused no appreciable change in any of the time-domain indices. At rest, all spectrum components were similar after placebo and propranolol infusions, but following parasympathetic and double autonomic blockade there was a reduction in all components of the spectrum analysis, except for the low:high ratio. During exercise, partial and double blockade did not change significantly any of the spectrum components. Thus, time and frequency-domain indices of heart rate variability were able to detect vagal activity, but could not detect sympathetic activity. During exercise, spectrum analysis is not capable of evaluating autonomic modulation of heart rate.

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Accession: 011435521

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 10052663

DOI: 10.1007/s004210050475


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