Nonlinear conte-zbilut-federici (CZF) method of computing LF/HF ratio: A more reliable index of changes in heart rate variability

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Objectives: Acupuncture treatments are safe and effective for a wide variety of diseases involving autonomic dysregulation. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a noninvasive method for assessing sympathovagal balance. The low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) spectral power ratio is an index of sympathovagal influence on heart rate and of cardiovascular health. This study tests the hypothesis that from rest to 30% to 50% of peak oxygen consumption, the nonlinear Conte-Zbilut-Federici (CZF) method of computing the LF/HF ratio is a more reliable index of changes in the HRV than linear methods are. Methods: The subjects of this study were 10 healthy young adults. Electrocardiogram RR intervals were measured during 6-minute periods of rest and aerobic exercise on a cycle ergometer at 30% and 50% of peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak). Results: The frequency domain CZF computations of the LF/HF ratio and the time domain computations of the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) decreased sequentially from rest to 30% VO2peak (P < 0.001) to 50% VO2peak (P < 0.05). The SDNN and the CZF computations of the LF/HF ratio were positively correlated (Pearson's r = 0.75, P < 0.001). Fast Fourier transform (FFT), autoregressive (AR) and Lomb periodogram computations of the LF/HF ratio increased only from rest to 50% VO2peak. Conclusion: Computations of the LF/HF ratio by using the nonlinear CZF method appear to be more sensitive to changes in physical activity than computations of the LF/HF ratio by using linear methods. Future studies should determine whether the CZF computation of the LF/HF ratio improves evaluations of pharmacop- uncture and other treatment modalities.

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