Cardiac Autonomic Nerve Stimulation in the Treatment of Heart Failure

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Research on the therapeutic modulation of cardiac autonomic tone by electrical stimulation has yielded encouraging early clinical results. Vagus nerve stimulation has reduced the rates of morbidity and sudden death from heart failure, but therapeutic vagus nerve stimulation is limited by side effects of hypotension and bradycardia. Sympathetic nerve stimulation that has been implemented in the experiment may exacerbate the sympathetic-dominated autonomic imbalance. In contrast, concurrent stimulation of both sympathetic and parasympathetic cardiac nerves increases myocardial contractility without increasing heart rate. This review assesses the current state of electrical stimulation of the cardiac autonomic nervous system to treat heart failure.

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