Sudden death: Neurogenic causes, prediction and prevention

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Abstract

Sudden death is a major health problem all over the world. The most common causes of sudden death are cardiac but there are also other causes such as neurological conditions (stroke, epileptic attacks and brain trauma), drugs, catecholamine toxicity, etc. A common feature of all these diverse pathologies underlying sudden death is the imbalance of the autonomic nervous system control of the cardiovascular system. This paper reviews different pathologies underlying sudden death with emphasis on the autonomic nervous system contribution, possibilities of early diagnosis and prognosis of sudden death using various clinical markers including autonomic markers (heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity), present possibilities of management and promising prevention by electrical neuromodulation.

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