Respiration and heart rate complexity: effects of age and gender assessed by band-limited transfer entropy

Shamim Nemati, Bradley A. Edwards, Joon Lee, Benjamin Pittman-Polletta, James P Butler, Atul Malhotra

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Aging and disease are accompanied with a reduction of complex variability in the temporal patterns of heart rate. This reduction has been attributed to a break down of the underlying regulatory feedback mechanisms that maintain a homeodynamic state. Previous work has established the utility of entropy as an index of disorder, for quantification of changes in heart rate complexity. However, questions remain regarding the origin of heart rate complexity and the mechanisms involved in its reduction with aging and disease. In this work we use a newly developed technique based on the concept of band-limited transfer entropy to assess the aging-related changes in contribution of respiration and blood pressure to entropy of heart rate at different frequency bands. Noninvasive measurements of heart beat interval, respiration, and systolic blood pressure were recorded from 20 young (21-34 years) and 20 older (68-85 years) healthy adults. Band-limited transfer entropy analysis revealed a reduction in high-frequency contribution of respiration to heart rate complexity (p<0.001) with normal aging, particularly in men. These results have the potential for dissecting the relative contributions of respiration and blood pressure-related reflexes to heart rate complexity and their degeneration with normal aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Physiology & Neurobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Entropy
  • Heart rate variability
  • Respiratory sinus arrhythmia

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