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IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 1992 Jun;11(2):47-52.

Fractal mechanisms in the electrophysiology of the heart.

Author information

1
Cardiovascular Division, Harvard Medical School, USA.
2
Harvard Med Sch, Boston, Cardiovascular Div

Abstract

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
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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