HRV strongly depends on breathing. Are we questioning the right suspect?

Teodor Buchner


The fact that the heart rate variability (HRV) depends on breathing is well known. The HRV is an important phenomenon which reflects the functional state of the autonomous nervous system (ANS), although there are some doubts concerning the actual interpretation of spectral components of HRV and their postulated balance. The assessment of the functional state of the ANS is the task of paramount importance in risk stratification of cardiological patients. HRV is considered to depend mainly on the properties of the sinus node (SN), which achieves neurohumoral input from the ANS. Interestingly, there is growing evidence that the relation between the heart rate (HR) and breathing rate (BR) is really strong. The variety of breathing-related effects that are present in HRV is very rich, including respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), cardiorespiratory synchronization and vivid heart rate response to breathing disorders. If the mean frequency of any of rhythms is changed, the other rhythm adjusts itself. This provokes the question on the actual source of the dynamics observed in the HRV. Is it possible that we observe mainly the dynamics of the respiratory rhythm which is just transduced by the heart effector? What might be the role of the intrinsic dynamics of this effector? Is the RSA a product of neural regulation or rather a by-product: what is its teleological role? In consequence: if we concentrate on the sinus node and its properties in order to understand the nature of the HRV - are we questioning the right suspect? The reasoning is supplied by suitable choice of literature and by the analysis of the computational model. Various consequences are discussed.
Author Teodor Buchner ZFUZ
Teodor Buchner,,
- Physics of Complex Systems Divison
Book 2011 Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society,EMBC, 2011
Keywords in EnglishANS, autonomous nervous system, breathing disorders, breathing rate, cardiological patients, cardiorespiratory synchronization, computational model, electrocardiography, functional state, heart effector, heart rate variability, HRV, medical disorders, medical signal processing, neural regulation, neurohumoral input, neurophysiology, physiological models, pneumodynamics, respiratory rhythm, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, risk stratification, sinus node, vivid heart rate response
Score (nominal)3
Citation count*2 (2015-01-04)
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