Age effect on phase relations between respiratory oscillations of the RR interval and systolic pressure

Maria Vittoria Pitzalis, Francesco Massari, Filippo Mastropasqua, Agnese Fioretti, Pietro Guida, Roberto Colombo, Cataldo Balducci, Paolo Rizzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spectral analysis may allow the evaluation of (baroreflex) gain and phase between the RR interval and systolic pressure oscillations synchronous with respiration but, unlike baroreflex gain, the determinants of phase are not completely understood. We evaluated the correlates of spectral phase in 92 healthy subjects (44 men) aged 10-80 years. To do so, the cardiorespiratory signals during paced breathing at 16 breaths/min were continuously recorded and analyzed. In addition, respiratory sinus arrhythmia and baroreflex gain (two indices of cardiac vagal activity) and phase were calculated by using an autoregressive spectral technique. At univariate analysis, the phase correlated with age (r = 0.48, P <0.001), the RR interval (r = 0.32, P <0.01), respiratory sinus arrhythmia (r = -0.3, P <0.01), baroreflex gain (r = -0.29, P <0.01), and body mass index (r = 0.25, P <0.05). At multivariate analysis, age was the most important physiological correlate of phase, accounting for 23% of interindividual phase variation. Cardiac vagal activity measures (which were higher in women than men) and the RR interval were also significant independent correlates of phase. We conclude that in addition to the RR interval and cardiac vagal activity, age has a significant impact on the phase relationship between respiratory related oscillations of the RR interval and systolic blood pressure. This spectral measure may contain additional information concerning the mechanisms that influence cardiovascular rhythms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-853
Number of pages7
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Age
  • Baroreflex gain
  • Gender
  • Heart rate variability
  • Systolic blood pressure variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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