Age and autonomie effects on interrelationships between lung volume and heart rate

Garrett Stanley, Davide Verotta, Noah Craft, Ronald A. Siegel, Janice B. Schwartz

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28 Scopus citations


To determine effects of aging and autonomic input on interrelationships between respiratory and heart rate variability, we collected 5 min of lung volume and R-R interval data from 7 young [27 ± 3 (SD) yr] and 10 older (69 ± 6 yr) healthy supine humans before and after double pharmacological autonomic blockade with propranolol (0.2 mg/kg iv) and atropine (0.04 mg/kg iv). Estimates of respiratory and heart rate power spectra and linear transfer functions between the two groups were generated by Fourier analysis. Age, double blockade effects, and age-drug interactions were determined by analysis of variance for repeated measures. Basal R-R intervals were unaffected by age. Double blockade decreased R-R intervals and variability in both age groups (P < 0.0001), but R-R intervals decreased less in older than in young subjects (P < 0.0001). In contrast, basal respiratory intervals and standard deviation were greater in older subjects (P = 0.05) and were unaffected by double blockade in young and older subjects. Lung volume-to-heart rate spectral coherence was highest at frequencies associated with respiration and greater in young than in older subjects (P < 0.07). Double blockade decreased lung volume-to-heart rate variability transfer function magnitude (P < 0.007) and increased phase angle (P < 0.02) without age effects or age-drug interactions. In conclusion, heart rate, respiration, and respiration-heart rate interrelations are altered by aging, and double autonomie pharmacological blockade does not eliminate all age-related differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1833-H1840
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 39-5
StatePublished - 1996


  • Aging
  • Atropine
  • Autonomics
  • Heart rate variability
  • Propranolol
  • Respiration
  • Time series
  • Transfer function


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