Multifractality and scale invariance in human heartbeat dynamics

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Ching, Emily S. C.
Tsang, Yue-Kin
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Human heart rate is known to display complex fluctuations. Evidence of multifractality in heart rate fluctuations in healthy state has been reported [Ivanov et al., Nature {\bf 399}, 461 (1999)]. This multifractal character could be manifested as a dependence on scale or beat number of the probability density functions (PDFs) of the heart rate increments. On the other hand, scale invariance has been recently reported in a detrended analysis of healthy heart rate increments [Kiyono et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. {\bf 93}, 178103 (2004)]. In this paper, we resolve this paradox by clarifying that the scale invariance reported is actually exhibited by the PDFs of the sum of detrended healthy heartbeat intervals taken over different number of beats, and demonstrating that the PDFs of detrended healthy heart rate increments are scale dependent. Our work also establishes that this scale invariance is a general feature of human heartbeat dynamics, which is shared by heart rate fluctuations in both healthy and pathological states.
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Nonlinear Sciences - Chaotic Dynamics
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