Removal of respiratory influences from heart rate during emotional stress

Carolina Varon, Jesús Lázaro, Alberto Hernando, Alexander Caicedo, Sabine Van Huffel, Raquel Bailón

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Heart rate variability (HRV) has been proposed as an indicator of stress. However, respiratory changes affect the spectral content of the HRV, resulting in a misleading estimation of stress, especially when the respiratory rate falls into the classical low frequency band. To overcome this limitation of the classical HRV analysis, this study decomposes the HRV signal, recorded during different phases of acute emotional stress, into two components using orthogonal subspace projections (OSP). One component describes all linear respiratory influences, and the other one contains all residual HRV dynamics. Two subspace definitions are compared here, on the one hand, the original respiration signal, and on the other hand, its wavelet decomposition. After a multicomparison test, no difference was found between the respiratory components derived using both subspaces, hence, no added value is achieved by the wavelet decomposition. Furthermore, the HRV variations that are linearly related to respiration are significantly different (p < 0.008) between relax and emotional stress. This suggests that respiratory dynamics are enough to detect emotional stress, which might result in an improved assessment of stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalComputing in Cardiology
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event44th Computing in Cardiology Conference, CinC 2017 - Rennes, France
Duration: Sep 24 2017Sep 27 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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