Complexity of heartbeat interval series in young healthy trained and untrained men

Physiol Meas. 2008 Apr;29(4):439-50. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/29/4/002. Epub 2008 Mar 17.


The origin of heart rate variability (HRV) is largely in parasympathetic activity. The direct influence of sympathetic activity and other control mechanisms, especially at an increased HR, is not well understood. The objectives of the study were to investigate the influence of increasing HR on the properties of heartbeat interval (RR) series in young healthy subjects. ECG was recorded in 9 trained and 11 untrained young men during supine rest, standing, incremental running exercise and relaxation. During exercise, a breath-to-breath gas exchange was monitored. The RR time series analysis included the spectral analysis, detrended fluctuations analysis method and sample entropy (SampEn) calculation. During exercise, spectral powers were reduced dramatically in both groups. The dependence of short-term scaling exponent (alpha(1)) on the RR included a characteristic maximum, while SampEn for the same value of the RR had a minimum. The value of HR corresponding to the maximum of alpha(1) and minimum of SampEn (IHR) corresponded to the intrinsic HR obtained by an autonomic blockade. In trained subjects, the curves alpha(1) versus RR and SampEn versus RR were moved toward larger RR, compared with control. For HR values higher than IHR, alpha(1) decreased and SampEn increased. These results reveal that the complexity of the heart rhythm above intrinsic HR decreases with an increase in HR. We suggest that at the highest HR intrinsic heart control is reflected in the heart rhythm. We point out the possibility of developing a new non-invasive method for the determination of intrinsic HR from the curve alpha(1) versus RR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Basketball / physiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Entropy
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology