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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00274

Dynamical landscape of heart rhythm in long-term heart transplant recipients: a way to discern erratic rhythms

  • 1First Department of Cardiology, Gdańsk Medical University, Poland
  • 2Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, University of Gdansk, Poland
  • 3Institute of Experimental Physics, University of Gdansk, Poland
  • 4Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, Japan
  • 5The University of Tokyo, Japan

It is commonly believed that higher values of heart rate variability (HRV) indices account for better organization of the network of feedback reflexes driving an organism's response to actual bodily needs.
In order to evaluate this organization in heart transplant (HTX) recipients, 58 nocturnal Holter signals of 14 HTX patients were analyzed. Their dynamical properties were evaluated by short-term HRV indices and measures grounded on entropy.

Estimates grouped according to the patients' clinical progress: free of complications versus with complications, and arranged in order of the length of time since the HTX, lead us to the conclusion that higher HRV is associated with a worse outcome for HTX patients. Moreover, short-term HRV indices that are constant, rather than increasing over time, serve well in the prognosis of the future state of a HTX patient.
These findings suggest that increases observed in HRV indices are related to erratic rhythms resulting from remodeling of the cardiac tissue (including heterogeneous innervation) in long-term HTX patients. Therefore, we hypothesize that dynamical landscape markers (entropy and fragmentation measures together with the short-term HRV indices) can serve as a tool in the exploration of the genesis of (non-respiratory sinus) arrhythmia.

Keywords: Heart rate variability, Entropic measures, Heart transplant patients, erratic rhythm, heart rate fragmentation, Autonomic Nervous System

Received: 16 Dec 2017; Accepted: 08 Mar 2018.

Edited by:

Ahsan H. Khandoker, Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates

Reviewed by:

Paolo Castiglioni, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi Onlus (IRCCS), Italy
Guanghao Sun, University of Electro-Communications, Japan  

Copyright: © 2018 Wdowczyk, Makowiec, Gruchała, Wejer and Struzik. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Danuta Makowiec, MAKOWIEC., University of Gdansk, Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Wita Stwosza 57, Gdansk, 80-308, Poland,