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Psychophysiology. 2007 Mar;44(2):203-15.

Comparison of time and frequency domain measures of RSA in ambulatory recordings.

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Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The extent to which various measures of ambulatory respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) capture the same information across conditions in different subjects remains unclear. In this study the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD), peak valley RSA (pvRSA), and high frequency power (HF power) were assessed during ambulatory recording in 84 subjects, of which 64 were retested after about 3 years. We used covariance structure modeling to test the equality of the correlations among three RSA measures over two test days and three conditions (daytime sitting or walking and nighttime sleep) and in groups with low, medium, and high mean heart rate (HR), or low, medium, and high mean respiration rate (RR). Results showed that ambulatory RMSSD, pvRSA, and HF power are highly correlated and that their correlation is stable across time, ambulatory conditions, and a wide range of resting HR and RR values. RMSSD appears to be the most cost-efficient measure of RSA.

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