Cardiac sympatho-vagal balance and ventricular arrhythmia
Kalla M., Herring N., Paterson DJ.
A hallmark of cardiovascular disease is cardiac autonomic dysregulation. The phenotype of impaired parasympathetic responsiveness and sympathetic hyperactivity in experimental animal models is also well documented in large scale human studies in the setting of heart failure and myocardial infarction, and is predictive of morbidity and mortality. Despite advances in emergency revascularisation strategies for myocardial infarction, device therapy for heart failure and secondary prevention pharmacotherapies, mortality from malignant ventricular arrhythmia remains high. Patients at highest risk or those with haemodynamically significant ventricular arrhythmia can be treated with catheter ablation and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, but the morbidity and reduction in quality of life due to the burden of ventricular arrhythmia and shock therapy persists. Therefore, future therapies must aim to target the underlying pathophysiology that contributes to the generation of ventricular arrhythmia. This review explores recent advances in mechanistic research in both limbs of the autonomic nervous system and potential avenues for translation into clinical therapy. In addition, we also discuss the relationship of these findings in the context of the reported efficacy of current neuromodulatory strategies in the management of ventricular arrhythmia.