Rhythmogram, Histogram, Scatterplot
Our ANS Analysis is based on the detection and subsequent interpretation of 520 technically flawless RR intervals (depending on puls between 5 -10 minutes) by means of a chest strap with a measurement resolution of 1 ms. The patient should be sitting during the measurment. Simlilar to taking blood pressure, the patient should calm down for 10 minutes prior to the measurement. Data from the chest strap is transmitted digitally and wirelessly to the receiver. The following illustration and calculation of the main ANS parameters is done automatically by the ANS Analysis software.
ANS analysis has been optimized for routine application in clinics and practices so that doctors, natural health practitioners and therapists can quickly and easily analyze and interpret the measurement data.
Good Heart Rate Variability
Impaired Heart Rate Variability
The rhythmogram is the base of the measurement of the autonomic nervous system. Here, the heart rate variability is recorded.
The rhythmogram depicts the time gaps (RR intervals) in milliseconds between successive heartbeats in form of vertical bars. In total, we record 520 RR intervals on the X-axis. The Y-axis shows the duration of the heart beat. The greater the difference of the individual RR intervals during measurement, the more variabilty will be visible in the rhythmogram.
That variability is a sign for adaptability. It means that the autonomic nervous system is able to adjust better to internal and external stimuli. We are testing via the variable heart beat if the autonomic nervous system is able to adapt the heart beat acording to changing situation. In a resting state, the respiration leads to adaption (when inhaling the heart beats faster, when exhaling the heart beats slower).This variability depending on the respiration is called respiratory sinus arrhythmia. It is generated for the major part by the autonomic nervous system, especially by the parasympathetic nervous system. Besides the respiration, additional factors come into play during the resting state. Accordng to those factors, the autonomic nervous adapts the body functions: e.g. the digestive system is working, we are having thoughts, we are lifting the arm to scratch ourselves, we are hearing noises. For all those situations the autonmic nervous system has to appropriately adapt the body.
The measurement will be conducted at a resting state. The rhythmogram should depict a high variability within this resting state as the variability is at its highest during rest. Why the variabilty is at its highest during rest, can be explained with a simple example: our heart does not work at full capacity during rest. It rather beats as fast as it is necesarry at the moment (e.g. a little faster when inhaling or when lifting the arm to scratch the head). Afterwards, the heartbeat will slow down to save energy.
Variability is a sign for energy-saving work and great adaptability!
The variablility and especially the fast changes from heart beat to heart beat are controlled to the most part by the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system reduces our heart rate, lowers the blood pressure and slows us down in general. However, the parasympathetic nervous system reacts electrophysiologically faster than the sympathetic nervous system.
This can be explained again with a simple example:
The brakes of your car slow your car down. When you hit the brakes very hard, you head will nod to the front as the brakes react very quickly. If you hit the accelerator very hard (assuming you do not drive a sports car), you will not be pushed into the seats all of a sudden.
high variability = much parasympathetic activity
low variability = little parasympathetic activity
In the second rhythmogram, you see almost no variability. The illustration is similar to a straight line. This means the heart works at full capacity to be highly productive. Within the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system is working for the major part whereas the parasympathetic nervous system is almost inactive.
Good Heart Rate Variability
Impaired Good Heart Rate Variability
The histogram is a different illustration of the recorded heart rate variabilty.
In the histogram, the individual time values are broken down into defined time domains, e.g. 900 - 950 ms, etc. The frequency of readings (in percent) within a particular time domain is depicted by the height of the bars. The variability of the cardiac rhythm, and hence the variability of ANS regulation, increases with the number of bars found across the width of the chart. Only two bars indicate that the RR intervals are almost identical. Correspondingly, the heart works at full capacity to be highly productive. It does not adapt individually.
The distribution should resemble a bell curve. Different distribution cases could be a sign for potential heart rhythm disturbances.
many bars = much parasympathetic activity
few bars = little parasympathetic activity
Good Heart Rate Variability
Impaired Heart Rate Variability
The scatterplot is another way of depicting the heart rate variabilty.
Each point in the coordinate system is defined by two successive RR intervals. The first value is plotted on the X-axis and the second on the Y-axis. The two readings thus produce one point in the scatterplot.
A larger scatter cloud indicates greater cardiac rhythm variability and thus better ANS regulation. A rather condensed cloud indicates the heart is beating in an uniform rythym. It cannot adapt individually anymore - it works at full capacity.
In the best case, the scatter cloud should be similar to an ellipse.
great scatter cloud = much parasympathetic activity
condensed scatter cloud = little parasympathetic activity
Pulse, Alpha 1, SDNN, Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System
The ANS Analysis Professional contains two illustration options. By default, the simplified patient illustartion is shown. It contains the following parameter: resting pulse rate, sympathetic nervous system (SI) and parasympathetic nervous system (RMSSD).
With a fingertip, you can change to the therapist illustration showing the Alpha 1 value and the SDNN (see images and explanation below).
All illustrated parameters are calculated mathematically on the basis of the heart rate variability. Those mathematic formulas were standardized in 1996 by an American and European task force.
Good Autonomic Regulation - Patient View
Impaired Autonomic Regulation - Patient View
The traffic light colors in the backgound represent standard values from worldwide specialist literature. In the best case scenario, all parameters should be in the green normal range. The values shown above the bars are the recorded values during the measurement. The values within the brackets show the normal range.
Usually, the red and blue bar is beeing discussed with the patient as they represent the two main nerves of the autonomic nervous system.
You can immediately say: "everything is alright" or "there is a need for action"
Good Autonomic Regulation - Therapist View
Impaired Autonomic Regulation - Therapist View
The therapist view offers two additional parameters to the patient view: the Alpha 1 value as well as the SDNN.
The Alpha 1 value indicates the quality of the regulation. In the best case, it should be within the green normal range. The more it increases, the more compensation processes are taking place in the body. The more it decreases, the more chaos is taking place in the system. It is a sign for a collapse of the control systems.
You should pay most attention to the Alpha 1 value if the sympathetic nervous system is increased and the parasympathetic nervous system is decreased. An increase of the Alpha 1 shows that the body is already compensating. The question becomes for how long the body will be able to withstand this dysregulation.
A decrease of the Alpha 1 in combination with an impaired regulation (dominant sympathetic nervous system) represents an increased risk for the heart - this has been presented by multiple studies. The control systems cannot cooperate effectively anymore - there is chaos within the system. The dominant sympathetic nervous system indicates that all organs are mainly being controlled by it.
increased Alpha 1 = compensation
decreased Alpha 1 = chaos
The SDNN is the standard deviation and consequently the overall variability. The more the SDNN increases, the greater the variability. This also means the adaptability of the autonomic nervous system increases. The more the SDNN decreases, the lesser the variability. This means there is limited autonomic regulation.
high SDNN = much parasympathetic activity
low SDNN = little parasympathetic activity