Bai X; Li J; Zhou L; Li X
Department of Cardiology, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China.
This study was designed to assess the changes in nonlinear properties of heart rate (HR) variability (HRV) during the menstrual cycle by means of complexity measures, including sample entropy (SampEn) and correlation dimension (CD), and explore probable physiological interpretations for them. In 16 healthy women (mean age: 23.8 +/- 2.7 yr), complexity measures along with the spectral components of HRV (sympathovagal markers) were analyzed over 1,500 R-R intervals recorded during both the follicular phase (day 11.9 +/- 1.4) and the luteal phase (day 22.0 +/- 1.4) of each woman's menstrual cycle. Simultaneously, serum ovarian hormone (estradiol-17 and progesterone) and thyroid-related hormone [free triiodothyronine, free thyroxine (T(4)), and thyroid-stimulating hormone] concentrations were measured. With regard to HRV measures, SampEn, CD, and high-frequency (HF) components decreased from the follicular phase to the luteal phase, whereas normalized low-frequency (LF) components and the LF-to-HF ratio as well as resting HR increased. In regard to hormone levels, whereas progesterone was increased, the other hormone concentrations were unchanged. Furthermore, across the menstrual cycle, both SampEn and CD were well correlated with the spectral indexes and free T(4) concentrations, and SampEn also showed significant correlations with the ratio of estradiol-17 to progesterone concentrations. These results suggest that the nonlinear properties in HRV are altered during the regular menstrual cycle and that the autonomic nervous system, ovarian hormone balance, and free T(4) may be involved in nonlinear HR control in healthy women. All of these factors may enrich the physiological meanings of complexity measures.