Journal Article

Decrease in the heart rate complexity prior to the onset of atrial fibrillation

Volkan Tuzcu, Selman Nas, Tülay Börklü and Ahmet Ugur

in EP Europace

Published on behalf of European Heart Rhythm Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)

Volume 8, issue 6, pages 398-402
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 1099-5129
Published online May 2006 | e-ISSN: 1532-2092 | DOI:
Decrease in the heart rate complexity prior to the onset of atrial fibrillation

Show Summary Details


Aims To assess heart rate complexity changes prior to the onset of atrial fibrillation (AF) using sample entropy. It has been proposed that the autonomic nervous system might have a role in the initiation of AF.

Methods and results The study included 25 patients with lone AF. Each record set contained two 30 min records from 25 subjects. Each patient had 30 min records containing the ECG immediately preceding an episode of AF (pre-AF) and 30 min of ECG during a period distant from any episode of AF (AFd). Sample entropy was used for complexity analysis. The sample entropy of R–R intervals was significantly reduced in the pre-AF period compared with the AFd period (0.45±0.25 vs. 0.78±0.46, P=0.003). The pre-AF periods were divided into three successive 10 min segments. There was a significant decreasing trend in entropy towards the onset of AF with linear mixed models (P=0.002).

Conclusions The heart rate complexity is reduced with a significant decreasing trend as assessed by R–R interval entropy prior to the onset of AF. There is a need for well-defined studies with larger patient groups in order to assess the entropy changes further and to look for possible changes, which might predict impending AF episodes.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Entropy; Complexity; Fractal analysis

Journal Article.  2936 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.