Multiscale Sample Entropy of cardiovascular signals: Does the choice between fixed- or varying-tolerance among scales influence its evaluation and interpretation?

Paolo Castiglioni, Paolo Coruzzi, Matteo Bini, Gianfranco Parati, Andrea Faini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Multiscale entropy (MSE) quantifies the cardiovascular complexity evaluating Sample Entropy (SampEn) on coarse-grained series at increasing scales t. Two approaches exist, one using a fixed tolerance r at all scales (MSEFT), the other a varying tolerance r(t) adjusted following the standard-deviation changes after coarse graining (MSEVT). The aim of this study is to clarify how the choice between MSEFT and MSEVT influences quantification and interpretation of cardiovascular MSE, and whether it affects some signals more than others. To achieve this aim, we considered 2-h long beat-by-beat recordings of inter-beat intervals and of systolic and diastolic blood pressures in male (N = 42) and female (N = 42) healthy volunteers. We compared MSE estimated with fixed and varying tolerances, and evaluated whether the choice between MSEFT and MSEVT estimators influence quantification and interpretation of sex-related differences. We found substantial discrepancies between MSEFT and MSEVT results, related to the degree of correlation among samples and more important for heart rate than for blood pressure; moreover the choice between MSEFT and MSEVT may influence the interpretation of gender differences for MSE of heart rate. We conclude that studies on cardiovascular complexity should carefully choose between fixed- or varying-tolerance estimators, particularly when evaluating MSE of heart rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number590
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017



  • Blood pressure
  • Gender
  • Heart rate
  • SampEn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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