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Is the normal heart rate “chaotic” due to respiration?
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The incidence of cardiovascular diseases increases with the growth of the human population and an aging society, leading to very high expenses in the public health system. Therefore, it is challenging to develop sophisticated methods in order to improve medicaldiagnostics. The question whether the normal heart rate is chaotic or not is an attempt to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of cardiovascular dynamics and therefore a highly controversial topical challenge. In this contribution we demonstrate that linear and nonlinear parameters allow us to separate completely the data sets of the three groups provided for this controversial topic in nonlinear dynamics. The question whether these time series are chaotic or not cannot be answered satisfactorily without investigating the underlying mechanisms leading to them. We give an example of the dominant influence of respiration on heart beat dynamics, which shows that observed fluctuations can be mostly explained by respiratory modulations of heart rate and blood pressure (coefficient of determination: 96%). Therefore, we recommend reformulating the following initial question: “Is the normal heart rate chaotic?” We rather ask the following: “Is the normal heart rate ‘chaotic’ due to respiration?”
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