Penzel T, Kantelhardt JW, Bartsch RP, et al. Modulations of Heart Rate, ECG, and Cardio-Respiratory Coupling Observed in Polysomnography. Frontiers in Physiology. 2016; 7:460. doi:10.3389/fphys.2016.00460
The cardiac component of cardio-respiratory polysomnography is covered by ECG and heart rate recordings and these signals provide diagnostic information for autonomic nervous activity during sleep. This review presents major methodological developments in sleep research regarding heart rate, ECG, and cardio-respiratory couplings in a chronological (historical) sequence. It presents physiological and pathophysiological insights related to sleep medicine obtained by new technical developments.
Analysis of ECG data and heart rate during sleep provides an appreciable diversity of information on the physiology and the pathophysiology of sleep-wake regulation. Assessment of nocturnal ECGs with respect to cyclical fluctuations of heart rate, combined with study of respiration-dependent alterations in ECG morphology (e.g., amplitudes of the R-waves and T-waves), allows reliable recognition of sleep-related breathing disorders. The quality of sleep itself can also be approximately evaluated by analysis of heart-rate variations.
Phase Analysis of ECG data is simple and provides appreciable diversity of information on the physiology and the pathophysiology of sleep-wake regulation and allows reliable recognition of sleep-related breathing disorders.