Chaos in Physiology: Health or Disease?

  • Ary L. Goldberger
  • Bruce J. West
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 138)


The universality of ‘chaotic’ dynamics in mathematical and physical systems [1–4] has prompted renewed interest in the application of nonlinear analysis to biological processes [4,5]. Attention has also focused on the physiological and medical implications of these concepts [4,6–11]. The prevailing viewpoint is that the dynamics of health are ordered arra regular and that a variety of pathologies represent a bifurcation to chaos [6,9,12]. For example, Smith and Cohen [9] advanced the hypothesis that ventricular fibrillation, the arrhythmia most commonly associated with sudden cardiac death, is a turbulent process (cardiac chaos) that may result from a subharmonic bifurcation (period-doubling) mechanism.


Heart Rate Variability Sudden Cardiac Death Ventricular Fibrillation Medical Implication Heart Rate Dynamics 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ary L. Goldberger
    • 1
  • Bruce J. West
    • 2
  1. 1.Harvard Medical School Cardiovascular DivisionBeth Israel HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Applied Nonlinear ProblemsLa Jolla InstituteLa JollaUSA

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