, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 73-87

Modeling Heart Rate Regulation—Part I: Sit-to-stand Versus Head-up Tilt

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Abstract

In this study we describe a model predicting heart rate regulation during postural change from sitting to standing and during head-up tilt in five healthy elderly adults. The model uses blood pressure as an input to predict baroreflex firing-rate, which in turn is used to predict efferent parasympathetic and sympathetic outflows. The model also includes the combined effects of vestibular and central command stimulation of muscle sympathetic nerve activity, which is increased at the onset of postural change. Concentrations of acetylcholine and noradrenaline, predicted as functions of sympathetic and parasympathetic outflow, are then used to estimate the heart rate response. Dynamics of the heart rate and the baroreflex firing rate are modeled using a system of coupled ordinary delay differential equations with 17 parameters. We have derived sensitivity equations and ranked sensitivities of all parameters with respect to all state variables in our model. Using this model we show that during head-up tilt, the baseline firing-rate is larger than during sit-to-stand and that the combined effect of vestibular and central command stimulation of muscle sympathetic nerve activity is less pronounced during head-up tilt than during sit-to-stand.