Nonlinear oscillations and chaos in chemical cardiorespiratory control
We report progress made on an analytic investigation of low-frequency cardiorespiratory variability in humans. The work is based on an existing physiological model of chemically-mediated blood-gas control via the central and peripheral chemoreceptors, that of Grodins, Buell & Bart (1967). Scaling and simplification of the Grodins model yields a rich variety of dynamical subsets; the thesis focusses on the dynamics obtained under the normoxic assumption (i.e., when oxygen is decoupled from the system). In general, the method of asymptotic reduction yields submodels that validate or invalidate numerous (and more heuristic) extant efforts in the literature. Some of the physiologically-relevant behaviour obtained here has therefore been reported before, but a large number of features are reported for the first time. A particular novelty is the explicit demonstration of cardiorespiratory coupling via chemosensory control. The physiology and literature reviewed in Chapters 1 and 2 set the stage for the investigation. Chapter 3 scales and simplifies the Grodins model; Chapters 4, 5, 6 consider carbon dioxide dynamics at the central chemoreceptor. Chapter 7 begins analysis of the dynamics mediated by the peripheral receptor. Essentially all of the dynamical behaviour is due to the effect of time delays occurring within the conservation relations (which are ordinary differential equations). The pathophysiology highlighted by the analysis is considerable, and includes central nervous system disorders, heart failure, metabolic diseases, lung disorders, vascular pathologies, physiological changes during sleep, and ascent to high altitude. Chapter 8 concludes the thesis with a summary of achievements and directions for further work.