The effects of specific respiratory rates on heart rate and heart rate variability

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2003 Mar;28(1):13-23. doi: 10.1023/a:1022312815649.


In this study respiratory rates of 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 breaths per minute were employed to investigate the effects of these rates on heart rate variability (HRV). Data were collected 16 times at each respiratory rate on 3 female volunteers, and 12 times on 2 female volunteers. Although mean heart rates did not differ among these respiratory rates, respiratory-induced trough heart rates at 4 and 6 breaths per minute were significantly lower than those at 14 breaths per minute. Slower respiratory rates usually produced higher amplitudes of HRV than did faster respiratory rates. However, the highest amplitudes were at 4 breaths per minute. HRV amplitude decreased at 3 breaths per minute. The results are interpreted as reflecting the possible effects of the slow rate of acetylcholine metabolism and the effect of negative resonance at 3 cycles per minute.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Baroreflex / physiology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*