Biophysical Characterization of the Underappreciated and Important Relationship Between Heart Rate Variability and Heart RateNovelty and Significance
Heart rate (HR) variability (HRV; beat-to-beat changes in the R-wave to R-wave interval) has attracted considerable attention during the past 30+ years (PubMed currently lists >17 000 publications). Clinically, a decrease in HRV is correlated to higher morbidity and mortality in diverse conditions, from heart disease to fetal distress. It is usually attributed to fluctuation in cardiac autonomic nerve activity. We calculated HRV parameters from a variety of cardiac preparations (including humans, living animals, Langendorff-perfused heart, and single sinoatrial nodal cell) in diverse species, combining this with data from previously published articles. We show that regardless of conditions, there is a universal exponential decay-like relationship between HRV and HR. Using 2 biophysical models, we develop a theory for this and confirm that HRV is primarily dependent on HR and cannot be used in any simple way to assess autonomic nerve activity to the heart. We suggest that the correlation between a change in HRV and altered morbidity and mortality is substantially attributable to the concurrent change in HR. This calls for re-evaluation of the findings from many articles that have not adjusted properly or at all for HR differences when comparing HRV in multiple circumstances.
See Editorial Commentary, pp 1184–1186
Early scientists thought that the heart beat was metronomic until in 1733, Reverend Stephen Hales1 made the observation that the pulse rate varied with respiration. In the 1960s, advances in ECG recording allowed quantification of beat-to-beat variation in to R-wave interval (R-R interval) dubbed heart rate (HR) variability (HRV).2 Thereafter, an explosion of investigation into HRV occurred—PubMed currently lists >17 000 HRV-related articles. Diverse parameters describing different characteristics of HRV have been proposed.3 In the general population, having a low HRV is associated with increased morbidity and mortality from various causes, not all cardiac.4 For example, Dekker et al5 demonstrated that decreased HRV was a predictor of death from all causes, including cancer. There is ample evidence too of changes in HRV that occur in response to disease, both cardiac and noncardiac. For example, decreased HRV is correlated to higher morbidity and mortality in patients following myocardial infarction.6 In addition to ischemic heart disease, significant changes in HRV are also documented in many other common conditions, including heart failure, hypertension, before arrhythmia onset, left ventricular hypertrophy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and in noncardiac conditions, including sepsis, fetal distress, diabetes mellitus, stroke, depression, and obstructive airways disease (for review, see Billman2). HRV was heralded as a useful noninvasive method for predicting clinical risk in these diverse disease states.
Underlying HRV is thought to be fluctuating behavior in the limbs of the cardiac autonomic nervous system. Before the advent of HRV, the ability of scientists and physicians to noninvasively estimate cardiac autonomic innervation was limited. A significant literature concerning HRV from bench to bedside continues to be produced today.
In this study, we have investigated HRV in a variety of species and cardiac preparations. Our results argue that, rather than being a pure marker of cardiac autonomic nervous system activity, HRV is primarily dependent on HR, with HRV increasing when the R-R interval increases (ie, when HR slows) and decreasing when the R-R interval decreases (ie, when HR quickens). This lends weight to the theory that the correlation between a decrease in HRV and higher morbidity and mortality is the consequence of the concurrent increase in HR. It follows that observed differences in HRV between ≥2 scenarios should, therefore, always take into account the HR present when HRV was measured, otherwise conclusions drawn may be flawed.
Experiments performed for this study focused on 3 different cardiac preparations: the conscious in vivo human and rat, isolated denervated Langendorff-perfused heart (rabbit, rat), and isolated sinoatrial node cell (SANC, rabbit). The species used in each of these situations varied, as did the experimental conditions used, and these are described in the online-only Data Supplement. Human studies were approved by the local ethics committee at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, and subjects gave their informed consent. Studies on the rat in vivo were approved by the Norwegian Council for Animal Research; the protocol used had the ID number 1980 and was performed in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals by the European Commission Directive 86/609/ECC. Studies on the Langendorff-perfused rabbit and rat heart were performed in accordance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 from the UK Home Office, with animals being euthanized using approved Schedule 1 procedures. Studies on the isolated SANC from the rabbit were conducted in accordance with the National Institutes of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
Continuous recordings of single-channel ECG data from the conscious human or rat and the isolated rabbit and rat Langendorff-perfused heart and spontaneous action potentials recorded from the isolated rabbit SANC were subjected to HRV analysis in multiple domains along identical lines, as detailed in the online-only Data Supplement. Stationary time epochs of 2·5 minutes (150 s) were used. Because of the varying HRs in different species, the number of data points differed among species. We repeated the data analysis with a fixed number of data points (500 heart beats) and did not observe significant differences in the results compared with the analysis using fixed time epochs of 2.5 minutes (data not shown). For simplicity, only the SD of normal beat to normal beat intervals (SDNN) and root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) are presented as parameters reflecting HRV herein.
The deterministic ordinary differential equation model for the electrophysiology of a rabbit central SANC by Zhang et al7 was implemented in this study for the advanced computer modeling. Further details of the model are given in the online-only Data Supplement.
We measured baseline HRV in the conscious human (n=11) and rat (n=11), isolated denervated Langendorff-perfused heart from the rabbit (n=58) and rat (n=8), and isolated denervated rabbit SANC (n=67). Figure 1A to 1E shows tachograms for the different preparations, demonstrating marked differences in HRV under baseline conditions; the data are summarized in Figure 1F to 1H. Corresponding power spectra and total power summary data are shown in Figure S1 in the online-only Data Supplement. HRV as a result of fluctuation in autonomic nerve activity is expected to be present in the conscious animal, but absent in the isolated denervated preparations; however, the pattern of HRV did not conform to this assumption. As expected, HRV in terms of SDNN, RMSSD, and total power was high in the conscious human (Figure 1A, 1G, and 1H and Figure S1) and low in the isolated denervated preparations (Figure 1B–1D, 1G, and 1H and Figure S1). However, in the conscious rat with an intact autonomic nervous system, HRV was also low (Figure 1E, 1G, and 1H and Figure S1). The baseline cycle length (CL; same as R-R or NN interval) also varied widely between preparations (Figure 1F). The preparation with the longest CL was the conscious human (mean±SEM, 839±50 ms). The Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart (428±10 ms) and rabbit SANC (327±7 ms) had the next-longest CLs, followed by the Langendorff-perfused rat heart (229±8 ms). The preparation with the shortest CL was the conscious rat (161±4 ms). Below we argue that HRV is strongly dependent on CL: the shorter the CL, the less the HRV. This explains the low HRV in the conscious rat, which had the shortest CL (Figure 1E and 1F). However, there is not a perfect correspondence between HRV and CL: the HRV in the 2 Langendorff heart preparations is lower than expected on the basis of CL alone. We re-examine the differences in baseline HRV in the 5 preparations in Figure 5A.
Despite clear interpreparation differences in HRV, β-adrenergic stimulation has the same effect on HRV in the conscious animal, isolated denervated heart, and isolated denervated SANC: Figure 2A shows the effect of the β-adrenergic agonist, dobutamine, on the CL and HRV in the conscious human (n=11). As expected, dobutamine caused a dramatic decrease in the CL (Figure 2A and 2E) and along with it a decrease in measured parameters of HRV (Figure 2F and 2G). The effect of β-adrenergic stimulation (using isoprenaline as the agonist) was also investigated in the rabbit SANC (Figure 2B) and in the Langendorff-perfused rabbit (Figure 2C) and rat (Figure 2D) heart. β-Adrenergic stimulation had a similar effect on CL, causing it to significantly shorten in all preparations studied (Figure 2E). It also had a similar effect on HRV, causing it to decrease in all preparations studied (Figure 2F and 2G). Could the decrease in HRV in all preparations simply be accounted for by the decrease in CL?
Relationship Between HRV and HR
Figure 3A summarizes all data obtained from the conscious human and rat, the Langendorff-perfused rabbit and rat heart, and the rabbit SANC: SDNN is used as the parameter of HRV and is plotted against HR. Figure 3B shows the same data, but only up to HRs of 240 bpm. Figure 3A and 3B also shows data from many other studies, including data from the healthy conscious human, athletically trained conscious human, conscious human exposed to autonomic blockade, conscious human with heart failure, conscious human with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, conscious human with myocardial infarction, conscious human heart transplant recipient, conscious mouse (wild type and transgenic), and rabbit SANC (control and exposed to acetylcholine)—see online-only Data Supplement for details of studies included. Despite the fact that the SDNN (along with other HRV parameters) will have been measured in different ways (over different sampling time periods, for example) and that the data are from different species, different preparations, different disease states, different conditions, and different laboratories, all the data are clustered and approximately fall along a common exponential decay-like curve: there is an exponential decay-like decrease in SDNN when HR increases (Figure 3A and 3B). Figure S2 shows that subgroups of the data in Figure 3A and 3B show the same relationship between HRV and HR as the whole data (Figure 3A and 3B). Figure 3C shows a semilogarithmic plot of the same data: the natural logarithm of the SDNN is plotted against the HR and there is a linear relationship, as is expected for an exponential decay-like process; it can be calculated from this linear relationship that for every 10 bpm increase in HR, logn(SDNN) decreases by 0.169 ms (SEE=0.41; R2=0.68). It follows that the SDNN at a given HR is given by the following:(1)
where is the SDNN at a reference HR, .
A Simple Mathematical Model of the Relationship Between HRV and HR
In the sinoatrial node, the membrane depolarizes throughout diastole (the pacemaker potential). If the pacemaker potential is monophasic, the rate of change of membrane potential, , is roughly constant. This is driven by a roughly constant inward ionic current, Itot, the total of the various ionic currents flowing during diastole, including rapid and slow delayed rectifier K+ currents (IK,r and IK,s), funny current (If), background Na+ current (Ib,Na), T-type Ca2+ current (ICa,T), and Na+-Ca2+ exchange current (Ca2+ clock current, INaCa), etc. is related to Itot in the following way:(2)
where Cm is cell capacitance. If ΔVm is the difference between the maximum diastolic potential (peak negative potential after the action potential; ≈−60 mV) and the threshold potential (≈−40 mV), then the diastolic interval (DI; time between spontaneous action potentials) is given by:(3)
Consider a fluctuating perturbing force that results in HRV (perhaps a change in autonomic nerve activity in the conscious animal, some unknown process in the isolated heart, or a fluctuation in the Ca2+ clock in the isolated SANC). This results in a fluctuating ionic current, Iper (perhaps acetylcholine-activated K+ current, IK,ACh, or INaCa; the nature of Iper is speculated on further in the online-only Data Supplement), across the SANC membrane. During diastole (ie, the pacemaker potential), this will change . The change in , that is, , is given by:(4)
If one assumes that Itot and Iper are constant throughout the pacemaker potential, the rate of change of membrane potential during the pacemaker potential will now be , in other words , or . This will result in a change in DI (ΔDI):(5)
where APD is action potential duration, there will be a change in CL (ΔCL) which will be the same as the change in DI, that is, ΔCL=ΔDI (assuming APD is constant). Iper fluctuates from beat to beat (thus explaining HRV). If it is assumed that during a single DI the amplitude of Iper is sufficient to change the CL by 1 SD, then (from Equations 5 and 6):(7)
An increase in HR (decrease in CL) is achieved by an increase in Itot (from 30 to 100 bpm, calculation using Equations 3 and 6 shows that Itot will increase ≈4·2 times, from −0.22 to −0.91 pA). Equation 6 shows that as the HR increases (ie, as Itot increases), the SDNN decreases, because will tend to zero. Equation 7 was solved numerically assuming that ΔVm=20 mV, Cm=20 pF, and Iper=0.085 pA. HR was calculated from the CL given by Equations 3, 5, and 6 (APD assumed to be 160 ms). The solid line in Figure 3A and 3B shows the calculated relationship between the SDNN and HR based on this model. It is a steep exponential decay-like relationship and the line goes through the majority of the experimentally measured points. This suggests that HR is a major determinant of the changes in HRV in the clinical and experimental studies.
The model highlights 2 reasons for the decrease in SDNN at high HRs. These reasons are robust and model independent. First, a perturbing influence will produce a change in that is likely to be roughly constant at all rates, and a change in slope of the pacemaker potential will obviously have a greater effect on the DI at longer baseline DIs. Second, the relationship between DI (SDNN is a DI) and HR is nonlinear and hyperbolic, because the 2 are inversely related. This acts to steepen the relationship between SDNN and HR.
Figure S3 shows the effect of Iper on the calculated relationship between HRV in terms of SDNN and HR: an increase in Iper effectively shifts the curve to higher HRs.
Relationship Between HRV and HR as Determined by a Biophysically Detailed Model
To confirm the dependence of HRV on HR, simulations were performed using a biophysically detailed model of the sinoatrial node action potential. The model of a rabbit central SANC (with Cm=20 pF) from Zhang et al7 was used. Figure 4Ai shows simulated pacemaker action potentials with no perturbing current (red traces), and with a perturbing current (green traces). The maximum Iper was 20 pA, but the average value of Iper was 0.132 pA, similar to the value of Iper used in the simple model. Figure 4Aii shows the corresponding tachogram. The pacemaker rate of the model was modulated by changing the modeled acetylcholine concentration (0–0.04 μmol/L). The maximum amplitude of Iper (20 pA) was kept constant. The pacemaker rate was fastest in Figure 4A (acetylcholine concentration, 0 μmol/L) and slowest in Figure 4C (acetylcholine concentration, 0.04 μmol/L). In the absence of acetylcholine, when the pacemaker rate was high, the perturbing current produced a small beat-to-beat change in the CL (Figure 4Ai). When the pacemaker rate was slowed by acetylcholine, the identical perturbing current produced a greater beat-to-beat change in CL (Figure 4Ci). The tachograms from the simulations confirm that the HRV was greater at the slower HRs (Figure 4A–4Cii). The calculated SDNN from the model is plotted against the HR in Figure 4D. The data from Figure 4 are shown in Figure 3A as gray squares. It is clear that they fall comfortably within the scatter of clinical and experimental data points.
A Detailed Analysis of Changes in HRV in Different Preparations at Baseline and With β-Adrenergic Stimulation
With the above considerations in mind, we were able to produce curves of expected change in SDNN with HR (shown as the green lines in Figure 5) and compare these with experimentally observed changes in HRV, to determine whether an experimentally observed difference in HRV (in terms of SDNN) between 2 experimental conditions can be explained simply by the difference in HR. Figure 5A shows the relationship between SDNN and HR in several different experimental preparations: the conscious human and rat, Langendorff-perfused rabbit and rat heart, and rabbit SANC (same data as shown in Figure 1). The green line demonstrates the expected change in SDNN with HR (based on a decrease in logn(SDNN) of 0.169 ms for every 10 bpm increase in HR, as calculated from Figure 3C), arbitrarily using data for the conscious human as the starting point (thus explaining why the line passes exactly through the conscious human data point; the choice of starting point makes no difference to the analysis). It is apparent that the decrease in HRV in the rabbit SANC, Langendorff-perfused rat heart, and conscious rat can be largely accounted for by the higher HR in these preparations (the data points lie above the green line). However, the decrease in HRV in the Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart may not be completely accounted for by the higher HR in this preparation (the point lies below the green line).
Figure 5B to 5E shows a similar analysis of the effect of β-stimulation on HRV in the conscious human (Figure 5B), rabbit SANC (Figure 5C), and Langendorff-perfused rabbit (Figure 5D) and rat (Figure 5E) heart. In each case, the decrease in HRV seen following exposure to catecholamine can be completely explained by the increase in HR (the dobutamine/isoprenaline points lie on or above the green lines). Such an understanding of the expected change in HRV where HR is different between experimental preparations or conditions is essential when trying to determine whether there is an HR-independent difference in HRV between ≥2 situations.
Figure 5 is a graphical method of correcting for changes in HR. It is also possible to correct for HR numerically:(8)
where cSDNN is the corrected SDNN (at an HR of 0 bpm). Figure S4 shows that it is possible to eliminate the HR dependence of the HRV data in Figure 3 using this correction factor. Equation 8 can be rewritten to give corrected SDNNref at any reference HR (HRref):(9)
We have demonstrated in detail that substantial HRV exists in isolated cardiac preparations without autonomic connections. This HRV exists under baseline conditions and is modified by drugs that modify beating rate, including exposure to a β-adrenergic agonist. We have shown that regardless of species, preparation, conditions, method of determination, and laboratory, there is a unique exponential decay-like relationship between HRV (as measured by the SDNN) and HR (Figure 3). This is true both in the healthy and diseased heart. Using mathematical modeling, we propose a biophysical explanation for the relationship between HRV and HR: at high HRs, the ratio of the perturbing current, Iper (regardless of its nature), to the intrinsic ionic current, Itot, driving the pacemaker potential becomes vanishingly small and the effect of Iper becomes negligible. This can be stated in another way: Iper will change the slope of the pacemaker potential by roughly the same amount regardless of rate; the effect of this change will be smaller the higher the HR. As such, HRV is primarily dependent on HR and cannot be used in any simple way to assess autonomic nerve activity to the heart. Although our analysis has focused on SDNN, our arguments are germane to many commonly used methods to measure HRV.
Earlier Indications of a Relationship Between HRV and HR
It has long been suspected that HR has a significant effect on HRV. Mangin et al8 studied this relationship in conscious rats, showing that SDNN, RMSSD, and the sum of low- and high-frequency power are all significantly correlated with CL. Coumel et al9 also demonstrated a significant relationship between SDNN and HR (correlation coefficient, 0.79). Neither of these studies quantitatively established the impact of HR on HRV. Zaza and Lombardi,10 however, did. Using isolated rabbit SANCs and modifying HR using acetylcholine, they were able to demonstrate that the relationship between concentration of acetylcholine and CL was not linear, nor was the relationship between CL and diastolic depolarization rate.10 This hinted at a strong rate dependency of several commonly used indices of HRV, including SDNN. Despite this article being published >10 years ago, there continues to be a marked underappreciation of this relationship. Our work aims to further clarify the importance of this and the need to make allowances for it.
Zaza and and Lombardi10 used model data to calculate that logn(SDNN) decreases by 0.17 ms for every 10 bpm increase in HR. Similarly, Tsuji et al11,12 used 2-hour snapshots of ambulatory cardiac monitoring to define that logn(SDNN) decreased by 0.16 ms for every 10 bpm increase in HR. In our study, logn(SDNN) decreased by 0.169 ms for every 10 bpm increase in HR (Figure 3B). The similarity of these numbers demonstrates the highly conserved relationship between HRV and HR. Similarly, our simple model predicts that logn(SDNN) decreases by 0.24 ms per 10 beat/min increase in HR (Figure 3A and 3B, solid line).
Sacha and Pluta13 have pointed out that the variation in CL (R-R interval) for a given variation in HR is greater at slower HRs, because of the inverse relationship between HR and CL, and suggested a correction procedure, which could eliminate this effect. We agree that this is one reason why SDNN varies with HR, as stated above it acts to steepen the relationship between SDNN and HR. However, the primary reason why SDNN varies with HR is the nonlinear relationship between the change in CL (ΔCL) and CL (for a given Iper): the correction procedure from Sacha and Pluta13 does not take this into account.
Multiple nonlinear methods for the interpretation of HRV have been developed during the past several years (eg, approximate entropy),14 yet their take-up has been limited. It remains unclear whether these do indeed give a true HR-independent means with which to assess HRV.
Can HRV Be Corrected for the Effect of HR?
Previously, several authors have attempted to correct for the effect of HR on HRV by normalizing HRV parameters by simply dividing them by the HR at that point in time (eg, Hayano et al15). Such linear corrections are inadequate to correct the nonlinear relationship between HRV and HR. This is demonstrated by Figure S5. In the power spectrum of HRV, the high-frequency band is said to represent parasympathetic activity, the low-frequency (at least in part) sympathetic activity.3 Via the mechanisms proposed in the present study, HR is expected to affect both frequency components equally. Some investigators argue that the ratio of the high-frequency to low-frequency components is the best measure of autonomic nerve activity to the heart,10 and undoubtedly the mechanisms proposed in the present study are not expected to affect this ratio. However, for independent reasons, the validity of this ratio has been challenged.16
Tsuji et al11,12 used a good method. They studied HRV (SDNN) in 736 human subjects enrolled in the Framingham study, finding that HRV was correlated with the HR (in the manner that can be explained by the present study). However, they12 showed that age was an independent factor determining HRV, with HRV being lower in older subjects for a given HR. They were able to separate age from HR, because of the large number of subjects investigated. If it is assumed that HRV is primarily the result of fluctuations in autonomic nerve activity in the conscious human (see above), the study of Tsuji et al12 suggests a decrease in autonomic nerve activity with age.
Figure 5 shows a graphical method of separating an independent factor from the effect of HR. For example, Figure 5A suggests that HRV in Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts (compared with the conscious human) is lower than can be accounted for by the higher HR, suggesting that Iper in the Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart is lower than in the conscious human. This is not unexpected: there is no fluctuating autonomic nerve activity in Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts.
Finally, the easiest method to correct for HR is to use Equation 8 as shown by Figure S4.
Relationship Between HRV and Morbidity and Mortality
The higher morbidity and mortality associated with decreased HRV has been presumed to be the consequence of autonomic imbalance (sympathetic excess, parasympathetic withdrawal, even bilateral autonomic withdrawal).2,3 This must now be reinterpreted. We argue that HRV is a nonlinear measure of HR and, therefore, the higher morbidity and mortality associated with a decrease in HRV is likely to be the result of the concurrent increase in HR. Of course, the autonomic nervous system has a role to play in HR control, although it is not the sole factor. That HR itself is an important mediator of risk is established and has been borne out by the fact that a high HR is correlated with adverse outcomes.17 Indeed, HR-lowering drugs (β-blockers18 and ivabradine19) are known to ameliorate morbidity and mortality in diverse cardiovascular diseases. Although it is possible that β-blockers have some effect on the autonomic nervous system in addition to their bradycardic action, the same could not be said for the pure HR lowerer ivabradine.
HRV is widely used as a measure of autonomic tone to the heart as well as patient morbidity and mortality, and there are >17 000 articles on the topic. We have demonstrated that regardless of the cardiac preparation (from human to rabbit isolated sinus node myocyte) and presence or absence of disease or physiological modification, HRV is inextricably linked to HR in an exponential manner: the lower the HR, the greater the HRV. We have illustrated and explained this relationship with 2 independent biophysical models. Our findings have significant implications for the many studies that have been and continue to be produced in which either no account is taken of the HR at which HRV is calculated, or in which the effect of HR has been improperly corrected for. Future studies concerning HRV should rigorously and openly correct for differences in HR before drawing conclusions.
Sources of Funding
Grants were received from British Cardiovascular Society (O. Monfredi) and British Heart Foundation (RG/11/18/29257) (M.R. Boyett). This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging. Other grants were received from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council UK (EP/J00958X/1; EP/I029826/1) (H. Zhang) and the K.G. Jebson Foundation (A.-B. Johnsen and U. Wisloff).
The online-only Data Supplement is available with this article at http://hyper.ahajournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03782/-/DC1.
- Received May 1, 2014.
- Revision received May 21, 2014.
- Accepted August 14, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
- Hales S
- 3.↵Heart rate variability. Standards of measurement, physiological interpretation, and clinical use. Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology. Eur Heart J. 1996;17:354–381.
- Dekker JM,
- Crow RS,
- Folsom AR,
- Hannan PJ,
- Liao D,
- Swenne CA,
- Schouten EG
- Dekker JM,
- Schouten EG,
- Klootwijk P,
- Pool J,
- Swenne CA,
- Kromhout D
- Zhang H,
- Holden AV,
- Kodama I,
- Honjo H,
- Lei M,
- Varghese T,
- Boyett MR
- Zaza A,
- Lombardi F
- Tsuji H,
- Venditti FJ Jr.,
- Manders ES,
- Evans JC,
- Larson MG,
- Feldman CL,
- Levy D
- Huikuri HV,
- Perkiömäki JS,
- Maestri R,
- Pinna GD
- Tardif JC
- Bristow MR
Novelty and Significance
What Is New?
A unique relationship exists between heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate across diverse cardiac preparations, both innervated and denervated, from the living animal all the way down to the fundamental building block of automaticity, the sinoatrial node cell.
This relationship is independent of the conditions or duration over which HRV is recorded and persists even when drugs or gene modification are used to affect cellular processes.
We have modeled this relationship using diverse biophysical models of differing complexity.
We have suggested how to adequately correct for the phenomenon.
What Is Relevant?
Our findings are significant because many articles have previously been published using HRV data that are not corrected for heart rate.
Articles continue to be published apace with this fundamental flaw, and yet with simple correction, the effect of heart rate could be removed and true differences in HRV revealed.
This has ramifications for the handling of blood pressure variability data.
HRV data should always adequately take into the account the heart rate at which they were measured.