LinuxPlanet: The Heart of the Penguin
Jun 08, 2002, 00:01 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
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"Fibrillation is a very serious condition, but even here there
is a matter of degrees: a common form of fibrillation is atrial
fibrillation (AF), a condition that effects around 2 million people
in the United States. AF is not usually regarded as especially
life-threatening--the brief periods of signal misfires can cause
discomfort, but typically are not fatal...
"Not so ventricular fibrillation, where the misfires are so
strong and so erratic, the heart quickly loses the ability to pump
blood. VF, or "v fib" as the doctors in the ER call it, is just
about the end of the line for the heart, unless it can be stopped
"Today, right now, research is taking place to learn just what
triggers a fibrillation, with the hope that perhaps such events can
be shut down before they even get started.
"One such research program is taking place at the University of
Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), where the effects of electrical fields
on human heart tissue are observed not in a gory lab, but rather in
the confines of a Beowulf cluster of servers running Linux..."