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Assessment Of Autonomic Function In Humans By Heart Rate Spectral Analysis

B. Pomeranz, R. J. Macaulay, M. A. Caudill, I. Kutz, D. Adam, D. Gordon, K. M. Kilborn, A. C. Barger, D. C. Shannon, R. J. Cohen, al. et

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Spectral analysis of spontaneous heart rate fluctuations were assessed by use of autonomic blocking agents and changes in posture. Low-frequency fluctuations (below 0.12 Hz) in the supine position are mediated entirely by the parasympathetic nervous system. On standing, the low-frequency fluctuations increase and are jointly mediated by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. High-frequency fluctuations, at the respiratory frequency, are decreased by standing and are mediated solely by the parasympathetic system. Heart rate spectral analysis is a powerful noninvasive tool for quantifying autonomic nervous system activity.