Aging and spectral characteristics of the nonharmonic component of 24-h heart rate variability

Seiichiro Sakata, Junichiro Hayano, Seiji Mukai, Akiyoshi Okada, Takao Fujinami

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24 Citations (Scopus)


To examine whether heart rate variability (HRV) during daily life shows power law behavior independently of age and interindividual difference in the total power, log-log scaled coarse-graining spectra of the nonharmonic component of 24-h HRV were studied in 62 healthy men (age 21-79 yr). The spectra declined with increasing frequency in all subjects, but they appeared as broken lines slightly bending downward, particularly in young subjects with a large total power. Regression of the spectrum by a broken line with a single break point revealed that the spectral exponent (β) was greater in the region below than above the break point (1.63 ± 0.23 vs. 0.96 ± 0.21, P < 0.001). The break point frequency increased with age (r = 0.51, P < 0.001) and β correlated with age negatively below the break point (r = 0.39) and positively above the break point (r = 0.70). The contribution to interindividual difference in total power was greater from the differences in the power spectral density at frequencies closer to both ends of the frequency axis and minimal from that at -3.25 log(Hz), suggesting hingelike movement of the spectral shape at this frequency with the difference in total power. These characteristics of the 24-h HRV spectrum were simulated by an artificial signal generated by adding two noises with different β values. Given that the power law assumption is fundamental to the analysis of dynamics through the log-log scaled spectrum, our observations are substantial for physiological and clinical studies of the heartbeat dynamic during daily life and suggest that the nonharmonic component of HRV in normal subjects during daily life may include at least two 1/f(β) fluctuations that differ in dynamics and age dependency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1724-R1731
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6 45-6
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambulatory electrocardiogram
  • Complex system
  • Fractal
  • Nonlinear
  • Power spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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