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J Sports Sci Med. 2014 Sep 1;13(3):535-41. eCollection 2014 Sep.

Ultra-short-term heart rate variability indexes at rest and post-exercise in athletes: evaluating the agreement with accepted recommendations.

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Auburn University at Montgomery, Human Performance Laboratory , Montgomery, AL, USA.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the agreement of the vagal-related heart rate variability index, log-transformed root mean square of successive R-R intervals (lnRMSSD), measured under ultra-short-term conditions (< 60 seconds) with conventional longer term recordings of 5 minutes in collegiate athletes under resting and post-exercise conditions. Electrocardiographic readings were collected from twenty-three athletes within 5-minute segments at rest and at 25-30 minutes of supine recovery following a maximal exercise test. From each 5-minute segment, lnRMSSD was recorded as the criterion measure. Within each 5-minute segment, lnRMSSD was also determined from randomly selected ultra-short-term segments of 10-, 30-, and 60-seconds in length, which were compared to the criterion. When compared to the criterion measures, the significant intraclass correlation (from 0.98 to 0.81, p < 0.05) and typical error (from 0.11 to 0.34) increased as ultra-short-term measurement duration decreased (i.e., from 60 seconds to 10 seconds). In addition, the limits of agreement (Bias ± 1.98 SD) increased as ultra-short-term lnRMSSD duration decreased as follows: 0.00 ± 0.22 ms, -0.07 ± 0.41 ms, -0.20 ± 0.94 ms for the 60-, 30-, and 10-second pre-exercise segments, respectively, and -0.15 ± 0.39 ms, -0.14 ± 0.53 ms, -0.12 ± 0.76 ms for the 60-, 30-, and 10-second post-exercise segments, respectively. This study demonstrated that as ultra-short-term measurement duration decreased from 60 seconds to 10 seconds, the agreement to the criterion decreased. Therefore, 60 seconds appears to be an acceptable recording time for lnRMSSD data collection in collegiate athletes. Key PointsThe log-transformed root mean square of successive R-R intervals (lnRMSSD) is a vagal-related heart rate variability index that has become a promising method for monitoring individual adaptation to training when measured during resting or post-exercise conditions.This study demonstrated that lnRMSSD of the 60-second electrocardiogram segments could likely serve as an alternative to traditional 5-minute measures in resting and exercise recovery conditions.Due to the current results in athletes and previous investigation involving non-athletes, the utility of ultra-sound-term lnRMSSD measures, especially 60 seconds in duration, within field setting for monitoring athletes at rest and in response to stress appears promising.


Performance; athletic monitoring; autonomic; parasympathetic; training load


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