Fractal and periodic heart rate dynamics in fetal sheep: Comparison of conventional and new measures based on fractal analysis

Takahiro Koshino, Yoshitaka Kimura, Yoshinobu Kameyama, Takeshi Takahashi, Tomoharu Yasui, Hiroshi Chisaka, Junichi Sugawara, Kunihiro Okamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The physiological significance of spectral and fractal components of spontaneous heart rate (HR) variability in the fetus remains unclear. To examine the relationship between circadian rhythms in different measures of HR variability, R-R interval time series obtained by fetal ECGs were recorded continuously over 24 h in five pregnant sheep at 116-125 days gestation. Conventional measures of short-term (STV) and long-term variability (LTV), low-frequency (LF; 0.025-0.15 cycles/beat) and high-frequency (HF; 0.2-0.5 cycles/beat) spectral powers, the LF-to-HF ratio, and fractal dimension values were calculated from 24-h ECG recordings and quantified every 60 min. STV, LTV, and LF and HF spectral powers were minimal during the day but increased significantly to their highest values at night. We found a significant positive correlation between these measures, whereas the cosinor method showed significant similarity between their circadian rhythm patterns. Fetal R-R intervals also exhibited fractal structures. Fetal HR variability had a fractal structure, which was similar between day and night. These results suggested that the circadian rhythms exhibited by STV and LTV during the day were mainly due to changes in frequency components rather than to fractal components of fetal HR fluctuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1858-H1864
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 53-5
Publication statusPublished - 2003 May 1


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Fetal heart rate variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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