We describe an analysis of cardiac and respiratory time series recorded from 189 subjects of both genders aged 16–90. By application of the synchrosqueezed wavelet transform, we extract the respiratory and cardiac frequencies and phases with better time resolution than is possible with the marked events procedure. By treating the heart and respiration as coupled oscillators, we then apply a method based on Bayesian inference to find the underlying coupling parameters and their time dependence, deriving from them measures such as synchronization, coupling directionality and the relative contributions of different mechanisms. We report a detailed analysis of the reconstructed cardiorespiratory coupling function, its time evolution and age dependence. We show that the direct and indirect respiratory modulations of the heart rate both decrease with age, and that the cardiorespiratory coupling becomes less stable and more time-variable.
© 2013 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.