Operation Everest II: An indication of deterministic chaos in human heart rate variability at simulated extreme altitude Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • It has been shown that fluctuation of human heartbeat intervals (heart rate variability, HRV) reflects variations in autonomic nervous system activity. We studied HRV at simulated altitudes of over 6000 m from Holter electrocardiograms recorded during the Operation Everest II study (Houston et al. 1987). Stationary, approximately 30-min segments of HRV data from six subjects at sea level and over 6000 m were supplied to (1) spectral analysis to evaluate sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (SNS, PNS) activity, (2) the analysis of PoincarĂ© section of the phase space trajectory reconstructed on a delayed coordinate system to evaluate whether there was fluctuation with deterministic dynamics, (3) the estimation of the correlation dimension to evaluate a static property of putative attractors, and (4) the analysis of nonlinear predictability of HRV time series which could reflect a dynamic property of the attractor. Unlike HRV at sea level, the recordings at over 6000 m showed a strong periodicity (period of about 20 s) with small cycle-to-cycle perturbation. When this perturbation was expressed on a PoincarĂ© section, it seemed to be likely that the perturbation itself obeyed a deterministic law. The correlation dimensions of these recordings showed low dimensional values (3.5 +/- 0.4, mean +/- SD), whereas those of the isospectral surrogates showed significantly (P < 0.05) higher values (5.3 +/- 0.5) with embedding dimensions of 5.6 +/- 0.9.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

publication date

  • July 1993