Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 25, 2006

Heart rate asymmetry by Poincaré plots of RR intervals

  • Przemyslaw Guzik , Jaroslaw Piskorski , Tomasz Krauze , Andrzej Wykretowicz and Henryk Wysocki


The Poincaré plot is a widely used method for visualizing and calculating heart rate variability and for investigating the oscillatory nature of heart action. We show that the Poincaré plot produced using physiological data for RR intervals is asymmetric. This suggests that the processes of heart rate acceleration (shortening of consecutive RR intervals) and deceleration (prolongation of successive RR intervals) might be asymmetric. To investigate this phenomenon, we define descriptors quantifying the heart rate asymmetry and present the results of a study involving 5-min ECG recordings of 50 healthy subjects in which, despite of the shortness of the recordings, the asymmetry is clearly visible.

Corresponding author: Przemyslaw Guzik, Department of Cardiology – Intensive Therapy, University School of Medicine in Poznan, 49 Przybyszewskiego Str., 60-355 Poznan, Poland Phone: +48-61-8691391 Fax: +48-61-8691689


1 Brennan M, Palaniswami M, Kamen P. Do existing measures of Poincaré plot geometry reflect nonlinear features of heart rate variability? IEEE Trans Biomed Eng2001; 48: 1342–1347.10.1109/10.959330Search in Google Scholar

2 Brennan M, Palaniswami M, Kamen P. Poincaré plot interpretation using a physiological model of HRV based on a network of oscillators, Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol2002; 283: H1873–H1886.10.1152/ajpheart.00405.2000Search in Google Scholar

3 Copie X, Leheuzey JY, Iliou MC, et al. Correlation between time-domain measures of heart rate variability and scatterplots in postinfarction patients. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol1996; 19: 342–347.10.1111/j.1540-8159.1996.tb03336.xSearch in Google Scholar

4 Eckberg DL. Sympathovagal balance. A critical appraisal. Circulation1997; 96: 3224–3232.10.1161/01.CIR.96.9.3224Search in Google Scholar

5 Eckberg DL. Nonlinearities of the human carotid baroreceptor-cardiac reflex. Circ Res1980; 47: 208–216.10.1161/01.RES.47.2.208Search in Google Scholar

6 Guzik P, Piskorski J, Krauze T, et al. Numerical descriptors of Poincaré plots analysis of RR intervals are related to baroreflex sensitivity and hemodynamic parameters in healthy people. Fol Cardiol2005; 12 (Suppl D): 56–59.Search in Google Scholar

7 Hainsworth R. Physiology of the cardiac autonomic system. In: Malik M, editor. Clinical guide to cardiac autonomic tests. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998: 3–28.10.1007/978-94-017-1057-2_1Search in Google Scholar

8 Hnatkova K, Copie X, Staunton A, et al. Traditional and nonlinear heart rate variability are each independently associated with mortality after myocardial infarction. J Electrocardiol1995; 28 (Suppl): 74–80.Search in Google Scholar

9 Rudas L, Crossman AA, Morillo CA, et al. Human sympathetic and vagal baroreflex responses to sequential nitroprusside and phenylephrine. Am J Physiol1999; 276: H1691–H1698.10.1152/ajpheart.1999.276.5.H1691Search in Google Scholar

10 Schneider R, Barthel P, Bauer A, et al. libRASCH – a programming framework for signal handling. Proc Comput Cardiol2004; 31: 53–56.Search in Google Scholar

11 Stein PK, Domitrovich PP, Huikuri HV, et al. Traditional and nonlinear heart rate variability are each independently associated with mortality after myocardial infarction. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol2005; 16: 13–20.10.1046/j.1540-8167.2005.04358.xSearch in Google Scholar

12 Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology. Heart rate variability: standards of measurement, physiological interpretation, and clinical use. Circulation 1996; 93: 1043–1065.Search in Google Scholar

13 Toichi M, Sugiura T, Murai T, Sengoku A. A new method of assessing cardiac autonomic function and its comparison with spectral analysis and coefficient of variation of R-R interval. J Auton Nerv Syst1997; 62: 79–84.10.1016/S0165-1838(96)00112-9Search in Google Scholar

14 Tulppo MP, Makikallio TH, Seppanen T, et al. Vagal modulation of heart rate during exercise: effects of age and physical fitness. Am J Physiol1998; 274: H424–H429.10.1152/ajpheart.1998.274.2.H424Search in Google Scholar PubMed

15 Woo MA, Stevenson WG, Moser DK, et al. Patterns of beat-to-beat heart rate variability in advanced heart failure. Am Heart J1992; 123: 704–710.10.1016/0002-8703(92)90510-3Search in Google Scholar

16 Zebrowski JJ, Poplawska W, Baranowski R. Entropy, pattern entropy, and related methods for the analysis of data on the time intervals between heartbeats from 24-h electrocardiograms. Phys Rev E1994; 50: 4187–4205.10.1103/PhysRevE.50.4187Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2006-10-25
Published in Print: 2006-10-01

©2006 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York

Downloaded on 25.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button