Quasiperiodicity and chaos in cardiac fibrillation

Alan Garfinkel, Peng Sheng Chen, Donald O. Walter, Hrayr S. Karagueuzian, Boris Kogan, Steven J. Evans, Mikhail Karpoukhin, Chun Hwang, Takumi Uchida, Masamichi Gotoh, Obi Nwasokwa, Philip Sager, James N. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

167 Scopus citations


In cardiac fibrillation, disorganized waves of electrical activity meander through the heart, and coherent contractile function is lost. We studied fibrillation in three stationary forms: in human chronic atrial fibrillation, in a stabilized form of canine ventricular fibrillation, and in fibrillation-like activity in thin sheets of canine and human ventricular tissue in vitro. We also created a computer model of fibrillation. In all four studies, evidence indicated that fibrillation arose through a quasiperiodic stage of period and amplitude modulation, thus exemplifying the 'quasiperiodic transition to chaos' first suggested by Ruelle and Takens. This suggests that fibrillation is a form of spatio-temporal chaos, a finding that implies new therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • arrhythmia
  • atrial fibrillation
  • death, sudden, cardiac
  • mathematics
  • ventricular fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Garfinkel, A., Chen, P. S., Walter, D. O., Karagueuzian, H. S., Kogan, B., Evans, S. J., Karpoukhin, M., Hwang, C., Uchida, T., Gotoh, M., Nwasokwa, O., Sager, P., & Weiss, J. N. (1997). Quasiperiodicity and chaos in cardiac fibrillation. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 99(2), 305-314. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI119159