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Phys Rev Lett. 1993 Mar 1;70(9):1343-6.

Long-range anticorrelations and non-Gaussian behavior of the heartbeat.

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  • 1Center for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University, Massachusetts 02215.


We find that the successive increments in the cardiac beat-to-beat intervals of healthy subjects display scale-invariant, long-range anticorrelations (up to 10(4) heart beats). Furthermore, we find that the histogram for the heartbeat intervals increments is well described by a Lévy stable distribution. For a group of subjects with severe heart disease, we find that the distribution is unchanged, but the long-range correlations vanish. Therefore, the different scaling behavior in health and disease must relate to the underlying dynamics of the heartbeat.

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