Research Articles

Controlling cardiac chaos

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Science  28 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5074, pp. 1230-1235
DOI: 10.1126/science.1519060


The extreme sensitivity to initial conditions that chaotic systems display makes them unstable and unpredictable. Yet that same sensitivity also makes them highly susceptible to control, provided that the developing chaos can be analyzed in real time and that analysis is then used to make small control interventions. This strategy has been used here to stabilize cardiac arrhythmias induced by the drug ouabain in rabbit ventricle. By administering electrical stimuli to the heart at irregular times determined by chaos theory, the arrhythmia was converted to periodic beating.