The development of the circadian heart rate rhythm (CHR) in Asian infants

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Objective: To test the hypothesis that term-born Asian infants, at reduced risk to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) exhibit a circadian heart rate rhythm (CHR) at a later age than non-Asian term infants. Method: Repeated overnight heart rate (HR) traces obtained with a battery-operated Polar S810i heart-rate monitor at home in 17 Asian Torajan infants in Indonesia, were compared with those of 52 non-Asian infants monitored as part of the Collaborative Home Infant Monitoring Evaluation (CHIME). HR was determined using a moving window averaging technique. A comparison of median HR during quiet sleep (QS) episodes (identified by minimum HR variability), established the presence of CHR. Results: Seventy three percent of non-Asian CHIME infants ≤ 7 weeks exhibited CHR compared to 45% of Asian Torajan infants. Between 8 and 12. weeks, 94% of non-Asian CHIME infants exhibited CHR, compared to 33% of Asian Torajan infants (p < 0.001). Forty seven and 56% of Asian Torajan infants exhibited the CHR at the age intervals of 16-20. weeks and 21-25. weeks respectively. Active wakefulness percentages as a function of the entire recording and median QS HR were not significantly different in the two groups. Conclusion: Despite the fact that Asian Torajan infants were on average a week older than non-Asian CHIME babies, between two and three months of age only one in three exhibited the CHR, compared to virtually all non-Asian CHIME infants. We speculate that the cause of this difference rests in the infants' environment rather than their genetic origin. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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Early Human Development