Changes in Detrended Fluctuation Indices with Aging in Healthy and Congestive Heart Failure Subjects
Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA) aims to quantify the fractal correlation properties in nonstationary time series, and it has successfully been applied in the assessment of the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) for cardiac risk stratification purposes. However the physiological meaning of DFA indices and its relation with aging have not yet been completely established. Given that a loss of complexity in the physiological regulation of elderly subjects has been reported in the literature, we hypothesized that DFA indices could be modified by aging. In this work we computed the Hurst exponent (estimated using DFA method) and DFA indices alfa1 and alfa2 to assess the HRV in healthy and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) subjects, and we studied the dependence of these indices on aging for both healthy and CHF subjects. We found that only alfa2 and Hurst exponent, and only in the case of healthy subjects, have significant discrimination capability to distinguish between young and elderly groups, and also that these indices have a steady increase with aging. Therefore, we can conclude that the loss of complexity due to aging can be quantified by changes in the values of alfa2 and Hurst exponent.