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Chaos. 2000 Jun;10(2):398-410.

Investigation of determinism in heart rate variability.

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Laboratoratorio de Modelagem, Analise e Controle de Sistemas Nao Lineares, and Departamento de Engenharia Eletronica, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antonio Carlos 6627, 31270-010 Belo Horizonte, Brazil.


The article searches for the possible presence of determinism in heart rate variability (HRV) signals by using a new approach based on NARMA (nonlinear autoregressive moving average) modeling and free-run prediction. Thirty-three 256-point HRV time series obtained from Wistar rats submitted to different autonomic blockade protocols are considered, and a collection of surrogate data sets are generated from each one of them. These surrogate sequences are assumed to be nondeterministic and therefore they may not be predictable. The original HRV time series and related surrogates are submitted to NARMA modeling and prediction. Special attention has been paid to the problem of stationarity. The results consistently show that the surrogate data sets cannot be predicted better than the trivial predictor-the mean-while most of the HRV control sequences are predictable to a certain degree. This suggests that the normal HRV signals have a deterministic signature. The HRV time series derived from the autonomic blockade segments of the experimental protocols do not show the same predictability performance, albeit the physiological interpretation is not obvious. These results have important implications to the methodology of HRV analysis, indicating that techniques from nonlinear dynamics and deterministic chaos may be applied to elicit more information about the autonomic modulation of the cardiovascular activity.


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