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Rodríguez, J., Schulz, S., Giraldo, B. F., Voss, A., (2019). Risk stratification in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy patients using cardiovascular coupling analysis Frontiers in Physiology 10, 841

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the most common causes of death; however, the early detection of patients at high risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) remains an issue. The aim of this study was to analyze the cardio-vascular couplings based on heart rate variability (HRV) and blood pressure variability (BPV) analyses in order to introduce new indices for noninvasive risk stratification in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy patients (IDC). High-resolution electrocardiogram (ECG) and continuous noninvasive blood pressure (BP) signals were recorded in 91 IDC patients and 49 healthy subjects (CON). The patients were stratified by their SCD risk as high risk (IDCHR) when after two years the subject either died or suffered life-threatening complications, and as low risk (IDCLR) when the subject remained stable during this period. Values were extracted from ECG and BP signals, the beat-to-beat interval, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and analyzed using the segmented Poincaré plot analysis (SPPA), the high-resolution joint symbolic dynamics (HRJSD) and the normalized short time partial directed coherence methods. Support vector machine (SVM) models were built to classify these patients according to SCD risk. IDCHR patients presented lowered HRV and increased BPV compared to both IDCLR patients and the control subjects, suggesting a decrease in their vagal activity and a compensation of sympathetic activity. Both, the cardio -systolic and -diastolic coupling strength was stronger in high-risk patients when comparing with low-risk patients. The cardio-systolic coupling analysis revealed that the systolic influence on heart rate gets weaker as the risk increases. The SVM IDCLR vs. IDCHR model achieved 98.9% accuracy with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.96. The IDC and the CON groups obtained 93.6% and 0.94 accuracy and AUC, respectively. To simulate a circumstance in which the original status of the subject is unknown, a cascade model was built fusing the aforementioned models, and achieved 94.4% accuracy. In conclusion, this study introduced a novel method for SCD risk stratification for IDC patients based on new indices from coupling analysis and non-linear HRV and BPV. We have uncovered some of the complex interactions within the autonomic regulation in this type of patient.

Keywords: Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, Heart rate variability, Blood pressure variability, Coupling analysis, Sudden cardiac death, Risk stratification