Nov 1, 2006

Exponential distribution of long heart beat intervals during atrial fibrillation and their relevance for white noise behaviour in power spectrum

Journal of Biological Physics
Thomas HennigStefan Heinrichs

Abstract

The statistical properties of heart beat intervals of 130 long-term surface electrocardiogram recordings during atrial fibrillation (AF) are investigated. We find that the distribution of interbeat intervals exhibits a characteristic exponential tail, which is absent during sinus rhythm, as tested in a corresponding control study with 72 healthy persons. The rate gamma of the exponential decay lies in the range 3-12 Hz and shows diurnal variations. It equals, up to statistical uncertainties, the level of the previously uncovered white noise part of the power spectrum, which is also characteristic for AF. The overall statistical features can be described by decomposing the intervals into two statistically independent times, where the first one is associated with a correlated process with 1/f noise characteristics, while the second one belongs to an uncorrelated process and is responsible for the exponential tail. It is suggested to use gamma as a further parameter for a better classification of AF and for the medical diagnosis. The relevance of the findings with respect to a general understanding of AF is discussed.

  • References23
  • Citations5

References

Mentioned in this Paper

Heart Beat
Sinus - General Anatomical Term
Atrial Fibrillation
Electrocardiography
Sinus brand of acetaminophen-pseudoephedrine
Cutaneous Fistula
Pathologic Fistula
Medical Diagnosis
Disintegration (Morphologic Abnormality)
Circadian Rhythms

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