American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology vol:290 issue:6 pages:H2560-70
In recent years more studies are using nonlinear dynamics to describe cardiovascular control. Because of the large dispersion of physiological data, it is important to have large studies with both male and female participants to establish a range of physiological healthy values. This study investigated the effect of gender and age on nonlinear indexes. Nonlinear scaling properties were studied by using 1/f slope (where f is frequency), fractal dimension, and detrended fluctuation analysis short- and long-term correlations (DFAalpha(1) and DFAalpha(2), respectively). Nonlinear complexity was described with correlation dimension (CD), Lyapunov exponent (LE), and approximate entropy (ApEn). The population consisted of 135 women and 141 men (age, 18-71 yr). Twenty-four hour ECG recordings were obtained by using Holter monitoring. The recordings were split into daytime (8 AM-9 PM) and nighttime (11 PM-6 AM). A day-night variation was present in all nonlinear heart rate variability (HRV) indexes, except for the CD in the female population. During the night the percentage of CD values of surrogate data files differing from the CD value of the original data increased. All nonlinear indexes were significantly correlated with age. Deeper analysis per age category of 10 yr showed a stabilization in the age decline of the fractal dimension and ApEn at the age of > or =40 yr. The vagal pathways seemed to be more involved in the generation of nonlinear fluctuations. Higher nonlinear behavior was evident during the night. No clear difference between men and women was found in the nonlinear indexes. Nonlinear indexes decline with age. This can be related to the concept of decreasing autonomic modulation with advancing age.