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Early Hum Dev. 1993 Mar;32(2-3):183-95.

Heart-rate variability in low-risk prematurely born infants reaching normal term: a comparison with full-term newborns.

Author information

1
Institute of Pathological Physiology, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany.

Abstract

To investigate the influence of prematurity and postnatal age on the maturation of the autonomic nervous system function, we analysed heart-rate and heart-rate variability in twelve prematurely born infants (< 37 weeks gestational age) reaching the conceptional age of 37-41 weeks. These neonates were compared with sixteen 37-41 week conceptional age newborns (< 10 days postnatal age). Heart-rate variability was analysed by spectral analysis of interbeat intervals using Short-Time Fourier Transform. We found that during both active and quiet sleep, the durations of RR-intervals were shorter and the amplitude of heart-rate variability in different frequency bands was lower in prematures reaching term than in newborns of the same conceptional age (P < 0.001). Between-state comparison showed differences in both groups. In both groups, low-frequency heart-rate variability was higher in active sleep than in quiet sleep. Between-state differences of RR-intervals and high-frequency heart-rate variability were present only in newborns (P < 0.01). Discrimination between newborns and prematures reaching term, based on RR-intervals and heart-rate variability, was correct in both sleep states with errors between 7 to 16%. However, in both newborns and prematures reaching term, between-state discrimination showed less reliable results, especially for quiet sleep discrimination with 24% (in PRT) and 20% (in NB) of errors. Our results, especially information given by factor analysis, suggest that the differences between newborns and prematures reaching term, concerning RR-interval and heart-rate variability, may be related to a changed balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems with a diminished parasympathetic component of heart rate control in prematures reaching term, as compared to newborns.

PMID:
8486120
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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