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Porta A.,University of Milan | Bassani T.,Polytechnic of Milan | Bassani T.,S Maugeri Foundation Scientific Institute Of Montescano | Bari V.,Polytechnic of Milan | And 4 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering | Year: 2012

This study was designed to demonstrate the need of accounting for respiration (R) when causality between heart period (HP) and systolic arterial pressure (SAP) is under scrutiny. Simulations generated according to a bivariate autoregressive closed-loop model were utilized to assess how causality changes as a function of the model parameters. An exogenous (X) signal was added to the bivariate autoregressive closed-loop model to evaluate the bias on causality induced when the X source was disregarded. Causality was assessed in the time domain according to a predictability improvement approach (i.e., Granger causality). HP and SAP variability series were recorded with R in 19 healthy subjects during spontaneous and controlled breathing at 10, 15, and 20 breaths/min. Simulations proved the importance of accounting for X signals. During spontaneous breathing, assessing causality without taking into consideration R leads to a significantly larger percentage of closed-loop interactions and a smaller fraction of unidirectional causality from HP to SAP. This finding was confirmed during paced breathing and it was independent of the breathing rate. These results suggest that the role of baroreflex cannot be correctly assessed without accounting for R. © 2011 IEEE.

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