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Towards assessing the sympathovagal balance

Abstract

Exact assessment of the autonomic nervous system’s (ANS) activity by means of heart rate variability (HRV) is a long-standing challenge. Although many techniques have been proposed to take up the challenge, none ever proposed a rationale for the approach behind the technique or a satisfying discrimination of the two activities which underlie the autonomic control of HRV. We here propose a new method, providing both an understanding of the discrimination’s nature and a framework which we believe leads to a thorough assessment of the sympathovagal balance, as a trajectory between points in a well-chosen space. The methodology assumes tools from scale invariance/covariance physics. The sympathovagal balance is obtained on a beat-to-beat basis with the dynamics portrayed through a trajectory. Furthermore, universal trajectories are sought which would comprehensively describe the effect of atropine and isoproterenol injections on systems underlying the heart pace variations. Non-invasive assessment of the respective activities of the sympathetic and parasympathetic subsystems of the ANS would be possible through cardiac autonomic measurements.

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Acknowledgment

The first three authors gladly acknowledge financial support from Dyansys, Inc.

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Correspondence to Melvyn J. Lafitte.

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Lafitte, M.J., Sauvageot, O.R., Fevre-Genoulaz, M. et al. Towards assessing the sympathovagal balance. Med Bio Eng Comput 44, 675–682 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11517-006-0053-1

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Keywords

  • Non-invasive monitoring
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Heart rate variability
  • Theoretical physics
  • Experimental mathematics