In this study we assessed the impact of movement on the interaction between the heart rhythm and respiration in rats while they were conscious and freely moving. In eight male adult Sprague-Dawley (SD, n=4) and Hooded Wistar (HW, n=4) rats, we recorded respiratory rate using whole-body plethysmography with a piezoelectric sensor attached to simultaneously monitor body movement. Heart rate was recorded using a radio-telemetry transmitter. For the assessment of cardiorespiratory coordination, we analysed the phase-locking between heart rate and respiration, estimating the instantaneous phases using Hilbert transform. For statistical analysis, the piezoelectric signal was dichotomized into low-intensity (LIm) and high-intensity (HIm) movement. The R-R intervals, respiratory intervals and cardiorespiratory coordination between LIm and Him of each rat were assessed with Student's t-test. A significant decrease in the mean values for respiratory interval (0.34±0.1 vs. 0.23±0.1 s, p<0.01 in HW rats) and R-R interval (0.19±0.01 vs. 0.17±0.01 s, p<0.001 in SD rats) was observed during HIm. The phase-locking between the cardiac and respiratory signals also decreased significantly during HIm (overall coordination during LIm vs. HIm: 89.3±3.3% vs. 8.7±1.7%, p<0.001). In conclusion the interaction between the cardiac and respiratory oscillators is affected by voluntary movements in rats.
32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2010). Proceedings of 32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (Buenos Aires, Argentina 31 August - 4 September, 2010) p. 1938-1941