• Power spectral analysis of the heart rate was compared with standard tests of autonomic function performed on 15 insulin-dependent diabetic patients with symptoms of autonomic dysfunction. The high-frequency power, low-frequency power, and total power of the heart rate power spectrum measured in the supine position—possible measures of parasympathetic nervous system function—were significant predictors of the expiratory-inspiratory ratio, the beat-to-beat heart rate difference on deep respiration, the standard deviation of the resting heart rate, the 30:15 ratio, and the Valsalva ratio. The change in low-frequency power on moving from the supine to upright position, a possible measure of sympathetic nervous system function, was a modest predictor of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure fall in response to postural change, but a poor predictor of the blood pressure response to isometric exercise and a cold stimulus. This study supports the role of heart rate power spectral analysis as a clinical test of autonomic function in patients with known or suspected autonomic failure.
Freeman R, Saul JP, Roberts MS, Berger RD, Broadbridge C, Cohen RJ. Spectral Analysis of Heart Rate in Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy: A Comparison With Standard Tests of Autonomic Function. Arch Neurol. 1991;48(2):185–190. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530140079020
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