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Open AccessArticle

Zipf’s Law of Vasovagal Heart Rate Variability Sequences

UMR CNRS 6015 Inserm 1083, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Angers, 4 Rue Larrey CEDEX 9, 49933 Angers, France
Entropy 2020, 22(4), 413;
Received: 25 March 2020 / Revised: 1 April 2020 / Accepted: 1 April 2020 / Published: 6 April 2020
Cardiovascular self-organized criticality (SOC) has recently been demonstrated by studying vasovagal sequences. These sequences combine bradycardia and a decrease in blood pressure. Observing enough of these sparse events is a barrier that prevents a better understanding of cardiovascular SOC. Our primary aim was to verify whether SOC could be studied by solely observing bradycardias and by showing their distribution according to Zipf’s law. We studied patients with vasovagal syncope. Twenty-four of them had a positive outcome to the head-up tilt table test, while matched patients had a negative outcome. Bradycardias were distributed according to Zipf’s law in all of the patients. The slope of the distribution of vasovagal sequences and bradycardia are slightly but significantly correlated, but only in cases of bradycardias shorter than five beats, highlighting the link between the two methods (r = 0.32; p < 0.05). These two slopes did not differ in patients with positive and negative outcomes, whereas the distribution slopes of bradycardias longer than five beats were different between these two groups (−0.187 ± 0.004 and −0.213 ± 0.006, respectively; p < 0.01). Bradycardias are distributed according to Zipf’s law, providing clear insight into cardiovascular SOC. Bradycardia distribution could provide an interesting diagnosis tool for some cardiovascular diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: baroreflex; heart rate variability; self-organized criticality; vasovagal syncope; Zipf’s law baroreflex; heart rate variability; self-organized criticality; vasovagal syncope; Zipf’s law
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Fortrat, J.-O. Zipf’s Law of Vasovagal Heart Rate Variability Sequences. Entropy 2020, 22, 413.

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