Pharmacologic modulation of the autonomic nervous system in the prevention of sudden cardiac death. A study with propranolol, methacholine and oxotremorine in conscious dogs with a healed myocardial infarction

Gaetano M. De Ferrari, Patricia Salvati, Mauro Grossoni, Giorgio Ukmar, Lorenzo Vaga, Carlo Patrono, Peter J. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the antifibrillatory and hemodynamic effects of pharmacologic muscarinic activation and to compare them with those of beta-adrenergic blockade. Background. Recent studies suggest a correlation between increased vagal activity and a reduced incidence of sudden cardiac death. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve reduces the incidence of ventricular fibrillation in a conscious animal model of sudden cardiac death. Methods. Eleven dogs with healed anterior myocardial infarction, in which a 2-min left circumflex coronary artery occlusion during exercise caused ventricular fibrillation, were studied. They underwent subsequent tests with saline solution, propranolol (1 mg/kg body weight), methacholine (0.5 μg/kg per min) and oxotremorine (8 μg/kg). Results. In the test with saline solution, 100% of the dogs developed ventricular fibrillation; this occurred in only 10% of the tests with propranolol (95% confidence interval 0.2% to 44%; p <0.001), 60% of the tests with methacholine (95% confidence interval 26% to 88%, p = 0.05) and 37.5% of the tests with oxotremorine (95% confidence interval 8% to 75%, p = 0.005). Propranolol and oxotremorine significantly reduced heart rate compared with saline solution, whereas methacholine did not. Propranolol significantly reduced maximal first derivative of left ventricular pressare, (dP/dtmax), particularly during myocardial Ischemia, compared with the other treatments (2,391 ± 582 mm Hg/s [mean ± 1 SD] with propranolol vs. 4,226 ± 1,237, 4,922 ± 584 and 4,358 ± 1,109 mm Hg/s with saline solution, methacholine and oxotremorine, respectively, p <0.005). Conclusions. Propranolol was extremely effective against ventricular fibrillation. Methacholine and oxotremorine provided a significant, although less marked, protection and caused much less impairment of contractility compared with propranolol. Muscarinic receptor activation may represent a new approach to prevention of sudden cardiac death, particularly when beta-blockers are contraindicated and negative inotropic effects are to be avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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