Fractal mechanisms in the electrophysiology of the heart

Author: A L Goldberger1
1 Cardiovascular Division, Harvard Medical School, USA.
2 Harvard Med Sch, Boston, Cardiovascular Div
Conference/Journal: IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag
Date published: 1992 Jun 1
Other: Volume ID: 11 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 47-52 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1109/51.139036. , Word Count: 105

The mathematical concept of fractals provides insights into complex anatomic branching structures that lack a characteristic (single) length scale, and certain complex physiologic processes, such as heart rate regulation, that lack a single time scale. Heart rate control is perturbed by alterations in neuro-autonomic function in a number of important clinical syndromes, including sudden cardiac death, congestive failure, cocaine intoxication, fetal distress, space sickness and physiologic aging. These conditions are associated with a loss of the normal fractal complexity of interbeat interval dynamics. Such changes, which may not be detectable using conventional statistics, can be quantified using new methods derived from "chaos theory."

PMID: 11539106 DOI: 10.1109/51.139036