Physiol. Res. 52: 517-524, 2003

Short-Term Dynamics of Coherence between Respiratory Movements, Heart Rate, and Arterial Pressure Fluctuations in Severe Acute Brain Disorders


1Institute of Pathophysiology and 2Clinic of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany

Received August 26, 2002
Accepted November 14, 2002

In our previous study, healthy volunteers showed considerable short-term dynamics and patterns of the coherence of high time resolution between respiratory movements (RESP), heart rate fluctuations (HRF), and arterial blood pressure fluctuations (BPF). These are physiological indicators of autonomic short-term coordination mediated mainly by the brainstem which could be impaired in severe brain disorders. We hypothesized a direct or indirect impairment of these functions by these disorders and examined these patterns in 16 patients suffering from severe brain disorders. We calculated partial and ordinary coherence sequences and found almost the same patterns of coherence sequences as in healthy volunteers, but a distinctly reduced frequency of pattern incidence in patients (2.8*1.5/10 min/patient and 9.5*2.8/10 min/subject, P<0.05). Furthermore, there is a significantly smaller frequency of HRF-related patterns in patients with poor outcome, compared with those in patients with good outcome (1.8*0.8/10 min/patient and 4.5*2.7/10 min/patient, P<0.05). We conclude that severe brain disorders reduce physiological short-term dynamics of autonomic coordination patterns in the mean values of patients, but not in every patient.

Key words
Autonomic short-term coordination • Coherence sequence • High time resolution • Heart rate fluctuations • Arterial pressure fluctuations • Severe brain disorders

Reprint requests
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Zwiener, Institut für Pathophysiologie, Klinikum der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Nonnenplan 2, D-07740 Jena, Germany, e-mail:

© 2003 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences