Beat to beat variability of cardiac tissue or isolated cells is frequently investigated by determining time intervals from electrode measurements in order to compute scale dependent or scale independent parameters. In this study, we utilize high-speed video camera recordings to investigate the variability of intervals as well as mechanical contraction strengths and relative contraction strengths with nonlinear analyses. Additionally, the video setup allowed us simultaneous electrode registrations of extracellular potentials. Sinoatrial node tissue under control and acetylcholine treated conditions was used to perform variability analyses by computing sample entropies and Higuchi dimensions. Beat to beat interval variabilities measured by the two recording techniques correlated very well, and therefore, validated the video analyses for this purpose. Acetylcholine treatment induced a reduction of beating rate and contraction strength, but the impact on interval variability was negligible. Nevertheless, the variability analyses of contraction strengths revealed significant differences in sample entropies and Higuchi dimensions between control and acetylcholine treated tissue. Therefore, the proposed high-speed video camera technique might represent a non-invasive tool that allows long-lasting recordings for detecting variations in beating behavior over a large range of scales.
Keywords: Higuchi dimension; acetylcholine; beat to beat variability; heart rate variability; sample entropy; sinoatrial node; video motion analysis.