Validation of a graphic measurement of heart rate variability to assess analgesia/nociception balance during general anesthesia

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2009;2009:1840-3. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2009.5332598.


The optimization of analgesic drugs delivery during general anesthesia (GA) requires to evaluate the pain/analgesia balance. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) analysis has long been shown to measure the autonomic nervous system tone, which is strongly influenced by anesthetic drugs. Power spectrum measurements are widely used to assess HRV low (LF) and high frequency (HF) ranges, related to the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. We have developed an original graphic measurement technique (EnvTOT) of the ventilatory influence on the RR series. Measurements on simulated RR series showed that the graphic assessment is independent from respiratory rate, while LF and HF spectral measurements are over- and underestimated for respiratory rates lower than 12 cycles min Clinical measurements on 49 patients during GA showed that normalized HF power was strongly related to hemodynamic responsiveness during GA, and was strongly correlated with normalized EnvTOT measurements. A real time computation of the RR series could therefore help medical staff to anticipate hemodynamic responsiveness and the analgesia/nociception balance during GA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Analgesia
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Anesthesia, General* / methods
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiration


  • Analgesics
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives