Development of cardiac innervation, ventricular fibrillation, and sudden infant death syndrome

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Abstract

The effects of bilateral vagotomy and of right, left, and bilateral stellectomy on sinus node and on ventricular fibrillation threshold (VFT) were assessed in three groups of puppies (1, 3, and 5 wk old) and one group of adult dogs. Heart rate was increased by vagotomy and reduced by right stellectomy in all groups. After vagotomy, VFT did not change in the first week, while it decreased in the third week (-21%, P <0.0001), in the fifth week (-20%, P <0.001) and in the adults dogs (-18%, P <0.005). VFT was not modified by right stellectomy in the first week and in the fifth week (0%, NS), while it decreased in the third week (-28%, P <0.05) and in the adults (-32%, P <0.001). Left stellectomy, performed after right stellectomy, increased VFT in the third week (+52%, P <0.05), in the fifth week (+62%, P <0.001), and in the adults (+45%, P <0.01). Thus removal of either vagal or right cardiac sympathetic activity increases susceptibility to ventricular fibrillation already during the first weeks of life. By contrast, removal of left sympathetic nerves increases cardiac electrical stability. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that a developmental abnormality in cardiac innervation may play a role in the genesis of some cases of sudden infant death syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume263
Issue number5 32-5
Publication statusPublished - 1992

Keywords

  • autonomic nervous system
  • left stellectomy
  • Q-T interval
  • right stellectomy
  • vagotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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