Respiratory control of heart rate

  • A. K. Ahmed
  • J. B. Harness
  • A. J. Mearns


Cross spectrum techniques have been used to characterise the relationships between breathing rate, sinus rhythm and peripheral blood flow. The breathing rate modulates both sinus rhythm and peripheral blood flow between certain limits, with a characteristic frequency amplitude pattern and entrains the Traube-Hering-Mayer waves within set limits. Beyond the upper limit of 0.4 Hz (24 breath min−1) no modulation occurs. The lower limit is estimated in our subjects able to breathe at rates of 0.033 Hz (2 breath min−1) the lower limit of modulation is approximately 0.05 Hz (3 breath min−1) in most individuals. These observations have serious implications for heart rate measurements in sinus rhythm below 90 beat min−1.

Key words

Heart rate variability Breathing rate Spectral analysis Entrainment Finger capillary blood flow 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. K. Ahmed
    • 1
  • J. B. Harness
    • 1
  • A. J. Mearns
    • 1
  1. 1.Postgraduate Schools of Control and Chemical EngineeringUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK

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