Technological advances have driven some attempt of vital parameters monitoring in adverse environments; these improvements will make possible to monitor cardiac activity also in automotive environments. In this scenario, heart rate changes associated with alcohol consumption, become of great importance to assess the drivers state during time.
This paper presents the results of a first set of experiments aimed to discover heart rate variability modification induced by moderate assumption of alcoholic drink (i.e. single draft beer) as that typically occurs in weekend among some people. In the study, twenty subjects were enrolled and for each of them two electrocardiographic recordings were carried out: the first before alcohol ingestion and the second after 25-30 minutes. Each participant remained fasting until the second ECG acquisition was completed. ECG signal were analyzed by typical time-domain, frequency and non linear analysis. Results showed a small increase in LF/HF ratio which reflects a dominance of the sympathetic system over the parasympathetic system, and an increase in signal complexity as proven by non linear analysis.
However, the study highlighted the need to monitor HRV starting from alcohol ingestion until its complete metabolization to allow a more precise description of its variation.