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Frequency estimates of the heart rate variability (HRV) spectrum influenced by external periodic stimuli were studied in healthy subjects and patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Sensory stimulation by periodic eye opening at a rate of 15, 10, 8, 6, or 5 times per minute, as well as spontaneous and controlled breathing at a rate of 15, 10, 8, 6, or 5 times per minute, was used. It was found that the spectral response to external periodic oscillations was determined by a frequency-dependent phenomenon, the maximal amplitude of heart rate variations being observed in the case of external stimuli at a frequency of 0.1 Hz. A resonance frequency in the 0.1-Hz range may be suggested to exist in the cardiovascular controls. Significant differences in the HRV frequency characteristics between CHD patients and healthy subjects were shown. CHD patients had a characteristic decline in HRV responses to external oscillations; the power of these responses did not depend on the frequency of external stimuli.
Gridnev VI, Kiselev AR, Kotel’nikova EV, Posnenkova OM, Dovgalevskii PYa, Kirichuk VF. Influence of External Periodic Stimuli on Heart Rate Variability in Healthy Subjects and in Coronary Heart Disease Patients. Human Physiology 2006; 32(5): 565–573.