Statistical modelling of the differences between successive R-R intervals

Sumithra J. Mandrekar, Haikady N. Nagaraja, Gary G. Berntson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Understanding the behaviour of R-R interval data and its successive differences is critical to the dynamics of cardiac control. Several time domain measures that quantify R-R interval variability have important clinical significance in terms of risk stratification and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment procedures. The present approach at examining the distributions of successive beat-to-beat differences of R-R interval data from different populations and under different conditions (baseline and reaction times) provides a valuable insight into their previously unexplored distributional properties. In particular, our analysis reveals that the successive differences have non-normal statistical distributions (a contradiction to the commonly used assumption of normality), and the absolute successive R-R interval differences approximately follows a Weibull distribution. As an illustration of the utility of this approach, we explore the statistical properties of the time domain measure: root mean square successive difference, study the association between the Weibull scale parameter estimate and respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and propose improvements in artifact detection algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-451
Number of pages15
JournalStatistics in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2005


  • ECG
  • Heart rate variability
  • Successive difference
  • Weibull distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Statistics and Probability


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