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Low-frequency heart rate variability is related to the breath-to-breath variability in the respiratory pattern

Authors

  • Alessandro Beda,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Electronic Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
    • Address correspondence to: Alessandro Beda, Department of Electronic Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Engineering School, Block I, Room 2613, Avenida Antônio Carlos no. 6627, Pampulha CEP 31270-901, Belo Horizonte (MG), Brazil. E-mail: ale.beda@gmail.com

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  • David M. Simpson,

    1. Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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  • Nadja C. Carvalho,

    1. Department of Electronic Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
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  • Alysson Roncally S. Carvalho

    1. Laboratory of Respiration Physiology, Carlos Chagas Filho Institute of Biophysics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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  • The simulation, paced breathing, and video game-based studies were performed by Elisson Andrade, Paulo C. N. Granja Filho, and Ana Lúcia N. Diniz, respectively. The experimental studies considered in this paper were partially funded by the CNPq (Brazil), CAPES (Brazil), MRC (UK), and Royal Society (UK).

Abstract

Changes in heart rate variability (HRV) at “respiratory” frequencies (0.15–0.5 Hz) may result from changes in respiration rather than autonomic control. We now investigate if the differences in HRV power in the low-frequency (LF) band (0.05–0.15 Hz, HRVLF) can also be predicted by respiration variability, quantified by the fraction of tidal volume power in the LF (VLF,n). Three experimental protocols were considered: paced breathing, mental effort tasks, and a repeated attentional task. Significant intra- and interindividual correlations were found between changes in HRVLF and VLF,n despite all subjects having a respiratory frequency above the LF band. Respiratory parameters (respiratory period, tidal volume, and VLF,n) could predict up to 79% of HRVLF differences in some cases. This suggests that respiratory variability is another mechanism of HRVLF generation, which should be always monitored, assessed, and considered in the interpretation of HRV changes.

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