Linear and nonlinear characteristics of heart rate time series in obesity and during weight-reduction surgery.Physiol Meas. 2009 Jul; 30(7):541-57.PM
Obesity is associated with abnormal cardiac regulation by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), this being reversed by weight loss. Bariatric (weight-reduction) surgery can induce substantial long-term weight reductions. This study compares the acute influence on ANS control of two different types of bariatric surgery involving laparascopic and open procedures. To distinguish between the cardiac influences of surgery and obesity, we perform the same analysis for laparascopic surgery in non-obese patients. Eight morbidly obese and five non-obese patients underwent surgery. Obese patients received either laparoscopic procedures (group A: n = 5, BMI = 44.3 +/- 2.7 kg m(2)) or open procedures (group B: n = 3, BMI = 55.2 +/- 4.5 kg m(2)) and non-obese patients received a laparoscopic procedure (group C: n = 5, BMI = 30.8 +/- 5.8 kg m(-2)). Holter ECG was recorded and heart rate variability (HRV) was quantified together with measures of complexity (sample entropy) and structure (Hurst coefficient, scaling coefficient) of the heart rate data. Multifractal characteristics of heart rate data, not previously reported for obese patients, are also quantified and interpreted. Mixed model ANOVA was used to assess the magnitudes of each quantified variable, with surgical group and perioperative time as main factors. HRV measures were influenced only during anaesthesia (LFn increase: p = 0.009; HFn decrease: p = 0.033) and did not discriminate between patient groups. Multifractality was the only characteristic of heart rate data that discriminated between patient groups, being significantly (p < 0.001) greater in non-obese (group C) compared with obese patients (groups A and B, who had similar multifractal properties). Multifractality was also enhanced during anaesthesia (p = 0.028) but did not differ for other stages. We conclude that obesity per se rather than response to surgery is the cause of reduced multifractality. Reduced multifractality in obesity might reflect a diminished 'scaling' or 'collective response' across the multiple autonomic modulators of heart rate. The multifractal method appears to be a more sensitive measure of integrated cardiac autonomic function than linear methods for these patients.