Information domain analysis of cardiovascular variability signals: Evaluation of regularity, synchronisation and co-ordination

A. Porta, S. Guzzetti, N. Montano, M. Pagani, V. Somers, A. Malliani, G. Baselli, S. Cerutti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Scopus citations


A unifying general approach to measure regularity, synchronisation and co-ordination is proposed. This approach is based on conditional entropy and is specifically designed to deal with a small amount of data (a few hundred samples). Quantitative and reliable indexes of regularity, synchronisation and co-ordination (ranging from 0 to 1) are derived in a domain (i.e. the information domain) different from time and frequency domains. The method is applied to evaluate regularity, synchronisation and co-ordination among cardiovascular beat-to-beat variability signals during sympathetic activation induced by head-up tilt (T) during the perturbing action produced by controlled respiration at 10, 15 and 20 breaths/min (CR10, CR15 and CR20), and after peripheral muscarinic blockade provoked by the administration of low and high doses of atropine (LD and HD). It is found that: (1) regularity of the RR interval series is around 0.209; (2) this increases during T, CR10 and HD; (3) the systolic arterial pressure (SAP) series is more regular (0.406) and its regularity is not affected by the specified experimental conditions; (4) the muscle sympathetic (MS) series is a complex signal (0.093) and its regularity is not influenced by HD and LD; (5) the RR interval and SAP series are significantly, though weakly, synchronised (0.093) and their coupling increases during T, CR10 and CR15; (6) the RR interval and respiration are coupled (0.152) and their coupling increases during CR10; (7) SAP and respiration are significantly synchronised (0.108) and synchronisation increases during CR10; (8) MS and respiration are uncoupled and become coupled (0.119) after HD; (9) the RR interval, SAP and respiration are significantly co-ordinated (0.118) and co-ordination increases during CR10 and CR15; (10) during HD the co-ordination among SAP, MS and the respiratory signal is larger than that among the RR interval, SAP, MS and the respiratory signal, thus indicating that the RR interval contributes towards reducing co-ordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-188
Number of pages9
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000



  • Cardiovascular control
  • Cardiovascular variability
  • Co-ordination
  • Complexity
  • Conditional entropy
  • Corrected conditional entropy
  • Regularity
  • Synchronisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this