Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA) is a popular method for assessing the fractal characteristics of biosignals, recently adapted for evaluating the heart-rate multifractal and/or multiscale characteristics. However, the existing methods do not consider the beat-by-beat sampling of heart rate and have relatively low scale resolutions and were not applied to cardiovascular signals other than heart rate. Therefore, aim of this work is to present a DFA-based method for joint multifractal/multiscale analysis designed to address the above critical points and to provide the first description of the multifractal/multiscale structure of interbeat intervals (IBI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in male and female volunteers separately. The method optimizes data splitting in blocks to reduce the DFA estimation variance and to evaluate scale coefficients with Taylor's expansion formulas and maps the scales from beat domains to temporal domains. Applied to cardiovascular signals recorded in 42 female and 42 male volunteers, it showed that scale coefficients and degree of multifractality depend on the temporal scale, with marked differences between IBI, SBP, and DBP and with significant sex differences. Results may be interpreted considering the distinct physiological mechanisms regulating heart-rate and blood-pressure dynamics and the different autonomic profile of males and females.
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