Preliminary results are reported from a research project analysing congestive heart failure in terms a stochastic coupled-oscillator model of the cardiovascular system. Measurements of blood flow by laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) have been processed by use of the wavelet transform to separate its oscillatory components, which number at least five. Particular attention was concentrated on the frequency content near 0.01 Hz, which is known to be associated with endothelial function. The LDF was carried out in conjunction with iontophoretically administered acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) in order to evaluate endothelial reactivity. Measurements were made on 17 congestive heart failure (CHF) patients (a) on first diagnosis, and (b) again several weeks later after their treatment with a β-blocker had been stabilised. The results of these two sets of measurements are being compared with each other, and with data from an age and sex-matched group of healthy controls. It is confirmed that endothelial reactivity is reduced in CHF patients, as compared to healthy controls, and it is found that one effect of the Beta-blocker is to ameliorate the loss of endothelial function in CHF. The implications of these results are discussed.
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