Application of complexity theory to the analysis of progression of 4:1 to higher degrees of atrioventricular block

F. Moleiro, V. Ruesta, H. Acosta, A. Castellanos, R. J. Myerburg

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It has been postulated that complexity (com) theory (as proposed by the Sante Fe Institute), which examines the patterns emerging between order and chaos (at the edge of chaos), may fulfill a role in the analysis of certain arrhythmias such as the progression of atrial flutter (AF) with 2:1 to 3:1 and 4:1 block (B). To determine its applicability to conduction ratios (ra) occurring between "stable" 4:1 B considered as order and maximal irregularity of ra (considered as chaos) we studied Holler recordings in 6 medicated patients in whom AF with 4:1 B progressed to higher (up to 2 10:1) degrees of block. The ra in each episode (ep) were expressed numerically as well as M (number of atrial deflections):N (number of ventricular complexes). In stage 1 (com) 1,325 ep of 4:1 B progressed (letter representation in parentheses) to one (4N+2:N) or several cycles of 6:1 B and to one (4N+4:N) or several cycles of 8:1 B. In these ep the ra between adjacent M:N and M':N' ra could be expressed as M+M':N+N' in hypothetical direct 4:1 to 6:1 and 4:1 to 8:1 steps of the so called devil's staircase. In the 398 ep of stage 2, 4:1 B progressed in multiple ways which could not be categorized as in the previous stage: a) to 5:1 to 6:1; b) to 6:1 to 8:1; and c) to 6:1 to 8:1 to a 10 B. This maximal irregularity of ra was categorized as chaos. In summary: 1) stage 1 is compatible with the postulates of com theory since it appeared between stability and apparent randomness of ra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210a
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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