This paper presents a new family of indices for the frequency domain analysis of heart rate variability time series that do not need any frequency band definition. After proper detrending of the time series, a cumulated power spectrum is obtained and frequencies that contain a certain percentage of the power below them are identified, so median frequency, bandwidth and a measure of the power spectrum asymmetry are proposed to complement or improve the classical spectral indices as the ratio of the powers of LF and HF bands (LF/HF). In normal conditions the median frequency provides similar information as the classical indices, while the bandwidth and asymmetry can be complementary measures of the physiological state of the tested subject. The proposed indices seem to be a good choice for tracking changes in the power spectrum in exercise stress, and they can guide in the determination of frequency band limits in other animal species. © 2011 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.
- Heart rate variability
- human and animal measurements
- paced breathing
- spectral analysis