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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Recording of ECG signals on a portable MiniDisc recorder for time and frequency domain heart rate variability analysis.

Analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) is a non-invasive technique useful for investigating autonomic function in both humans and animals. It has been used for research into both behaviour and physiology. Commercial systems for human HRV analysis are expensive and may not have sufficient flexibility for appropriate analysis in animals. Some heart rate monitors have the facility to provide inter-beat interval (IBI), but verification following collection is not possible as only IBIs are recorded, and not the raw electrocardiogram (ECG) signal. Computer-based data acquisition and analysis systems such as Po-Ne-Mah and Biopac offer greater flexibility and control but have limited portability. Many laboratories and veterinary surgeons have access to ECG machines but do not have equipment to record ECG signals for further analysis. The aim of the present study was to determine whether suitable HRV data could be obtained from ECG signals recorded onto a MiniDisc (MD) and subsequently digitised and analysed using a commercial data acquisition and analysis package. ECG signals were obtained from six Thoroughbred horses by telemetry. A split BNC connecter was used to allow simultaneous digitisation of analogue output from the ECG receiver unit by a computerised data acquisition system (Po-Ne-Mah) and MiniDisc player (MZ-N710, Sony). Following recording, data were played back from the MiniDisc into the same input channel of the data acquisition system as previously used to record the direct ECG. All data were digitised at a sampling rate of 500 Hz. IBI data were analysed in both time and frequency domains and comparisons between direct recorded and MiniDisc data were made using Bland-Altman analysis. Despite some changes in ECG morphology due to loss of low frequency content (primarily below 5 Hz) following MiniDisc recording, there was minimal difference in IBI or time or frequency domain analysis between the two recording methods. The MiniDisc offers a cost-effective approach to intermediate recording of ECG signals for subsequent HRV analysis and also provides greater flexibility than use of human Holter systems.[1]


  1. Recording of ECG signals on a portable MiniDisc recorder for time and frequency domain heart rate variability analysis. Norman, S.E., Eager, R.A., Waran, N.K., Jeffery, L., Schroter, R.C., Marlin, D.J. Physiol. Behav. (2005) [Pubmed]
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