Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, looked at 83 patients with a type of potentially fatal heart failure caused when the lower left chamber of the heart becomes stretched and weakened. A computer was used to analyse the time it takes for cells of the lower chambers to recover electrically from being contracted during a beat.
The results, published in the journal Circulation, showed that this time period varied widely from beat-to-beat, even though they appeared to have stable heart rates. In healthy volunteers, the beat-to-beat interval was relatively stable.
Dr Ronald Berger, who headed the research, said: "This is an important finding that requires further study clinically, to see if this is a predictor for dangerous rhythm disturbances, and mechanistically, to examine on a cellular level why this happens."Reuse content