Heart rate and systolic blood pressure in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation: A linguistic analysis

V. D A Corino, S. Belletti, P. Terranova, F. Lombardi, L. T. Mainardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During atrial fibrillation (AF), ventricular response is highly irregular and thus the beat-to-beat variation of blood pressure is increased because of variations in filling time and in contractility. Objectives: Aim of the present study is to investigate the short-term dynamics of RR and SAP series in patients with AF, during rest and tilt, and after restoration of sinus rhythm. Methods: We computed symbolic sequences of the three phases, as they retain important features of the dynamics generated by the underlying control system. Then we applied a method based on rank order statistics of symbolic sequences to investigate the profile of different types of dynamics. The linguistic distance (range 0-1) between sequences represents a measure of similarity to assess whether the different physiological states are reflected on the dynamics of RR and SAP series. Results: The distance between rest and tilt phases is 0.06 ± 0.02 for RR series, meaning they are very similar, while it is 0.21 ± 0.13 for SAP series, showing a difference in the shortterm dynamics. RR mean decreases during tilt (738 ± 164 vs. 692 ± 152 ms, p <0.05, rest vs. tilt), while mean SAP is not significantly different (101 ± 20 vs. 104 ± 14 mmHg, rest vs. tilt). Comparing AF and sinus rhythm, both RR and SAP series result different in terms of the computed distance. Conclusions: SAP short-term dynamics seem to significantly change when comparing rest and tilt phases, while RR series remain unchanged. Moreover, RR mean but not SAP series significantly decreases during tilt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-520
Number of pages5
JournalMethods of Information in Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Blood pressure
  • Degree of nonrandomness
  • Heart rate variability
  • Linguistic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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