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Applications of Fractal and Non-linear Time Series Analysis to the Study of Short-term Cardiovascular Control

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The short-term cardiovascular control system is reviewed from the analysis of the heart rate, respiration and blood pressure beat-to-beat variability signals. The present state of the art concerning fractal and non-linear techniques as applied to the cardiovascular system and the differences between both approaches are highlighted. We present results obtained in mammals from statistics, such as the fractal exponent, the correlation dimension or the maximal Lyapunov exponent and discuss the convenience of these indexes for characterizing the irregularity present in the signals. Finally, the interdependence between the systems involved in the cardiovascular control is addressed. Recent results obtained from interdependence indexes between the cardio, respiratory and vascular signals are discussed and their convenience in physiological studies and clinical applications are stressed.

Keywords: beat-to-beat variability signals; non-linear techniques; non-linear time series analysis; short-term cardiovascular control

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Departamento de Fisiologia, Facultad de Medicina, 38071 Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.

Publication date: April 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Vascular disease is the commonest cause of death in Westernized countries and its incidence is on the increase in developing countries. It follows that considerable research is directed at establishing effective treatment for acute vascular events. Long-term treatment has also received considerable attention (e.g. for symptomatic relief). Furthermore, effective prevention, whether primary or secondary, is backed by the findings of several landmark trials.

    Vascular disease is a complex field with primary care physicians and nurse practitioners as well as several specialties involved. The latter include cardiology, vascular and cardio thoracic surgery, general medicine, radiology, clinical pharmacology and neurology (stroke units). Current Vascular Pharmacology will publish reviews to update all those concerned with the treatment of vascular disease. For example, reviews commenting on recently published trials or new drugs will be included. In addition to clinically relevant topics we will consider 'research-based' reviews dealing with future developments and potential drug targets. Therefore, another function of Current Vascular Pharmacology is to bridge the gap between clinical practice and ongoing research.

    Debates will also be encouraged in the correspondence section of this journal.

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