We utilized transfer function analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) and respiration to investigate the effect of water intake on gastric myoelectrical activity and its relationship to vagal activity. The electrogastrography (EGG) and HRV were recorded simultaneously before and after drinking 500 ml of water in 10 healthy subjects. We observed good linearity between lung volumes and HRV signals at a ventilatory rate between 0.2 and 0.4 Hz before and after water intake. The EGG power of 3 cycles/min increased remarkably after the water intake. We found that there was a significant increase in the magnitude of the respiration-HRV transfer function after water intake (P < 0.05). The EGG 3 cycles/min power was positively correlated with the transfer magnitude throughout the study (r = 0.54, P = 0.01). These results confirm that transfer function analysis of HRV sensitively identifies subtle changes in the respiratory sinus arrhythmia that occurs with water intake. The present findings suggest that transfer function analysis of HRV and respiration after water intake can be used to evaluate vagal nervous activity in the human gut.
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