Non-Gaussianity of low frequency heart rate variability and sympathetic activation: Lack of increases in multiple system atrophy and Parkinson disease

Ken Kiyono, Junichiro Hayano, Shin Kwak, Eiichi Watanabe, Yoshiharu Yamamoto

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The correlates of indices of long-term ambulatory heart rate variability (HRV) of the auto-nomic nervous system have not been completely understood. In this study, we evaluated conventional HRV indices, obtained from the daytime (12:00-18:00) Holter recording, and a recently proposed non-Gaussianity index (λ; Kiyono et al., 2008) in 12 patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) and 10 patients with Parkinson disease (PD), known to have varying degrees of cardiac vagal and sympathetic dysfunction. Compared with the age-matched healthy control group, the MSA patients showed significantly decreased HRV, most probably reflecting impaired vagal heart rate control, but the PD patients did not show such reduced variability. In both MSA and PD patients, the low-to-high frequency (LF/HF) ratio and the short-term fractal exponent α1, suggested to reflect the sympathovagal balance, were significantly decreased, as observed in congestive heart failure (CHF) patients with sympathetic overdrive. In contrast, the analysis of the non-Gaussianity index λ showed that a marked increase in intermittent and non-Gaussian HRV observed in the CHF patients was not observed in the MSA and PD patients with sympathetic dysfunction. These findings provide additional evidence for the relation between the non-Gaussian intermittency of HRV and increased sympathetic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 34
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume3 FEB
Publication statusPublished - 20-09-2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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