The autonomic nervous system regulates multiple physiological functions; how distinct neurons in peripheral autonomic and intrathoracic ganglia communicate remains to be established. Increasing focus is being paid to functionality of the neurocardiac axis and crosstalk between the intrinsic nervous system and diverse organ systems. Current findings indicate that progression of cardiovascular disease comprises peripheral and central aspects of the cardiac nervous system hierarchy. Indeed, autonomic neuronal dysfunction is known to participate in arrhythmogenesis and sudden cardiac death; diverse interventions (pharmacological, non-pharmacological) that affect neuronal remodeling in the heart following injury caused by cardiovascular disease (congestive heart failure, etc.) or acute myocardial infarction are being investigated. Herein we examine recent findings from clinical and animal studies on the role of the intrinsic cardiac nervous system on regulation of myocardial perfusion and the consequences of cardiac injury. We also discuss different interventions that target the autonomic nervous system, stimulate neuronal remodeling and adaptation, and thereby optimize patient outcomes.
Part of the book: Autonomic Nervous System
Diffuse coronary artery injury produces a host of physiopathological, structural and metabolic changes in cardiocytes that, if not rectified, result in significant loss of functional myocardium to cause cardiac contractile dysfunction. Restoration of blood perfusion to the infarct-related artery helps to limit the acute effects of myocardial infarction; however, cardiocyte injury may be exacerbated because of the restoration of blood perfusion to the ischemic zone (i.e. reperfusion injury). Various manifestations of reperfusion injury include no-reflow, myocardial stunning or hibernation and ventricular arrhythmias. Consequently, reperfusion of an infarct related artery is often viewed in the context of being a “double-edged sword.” Pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions have been investigated in pre-clinical and clinical studies in the hunt to develop strategies to protect cardiomyocytes against the long-term effects of ischemia, or delay development of necrosis (resulting from ischemia or reperfusion). This book chapter will update current thinking on cardioprotective strategies to improve clinical outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease.
Part of the book: Cardiac Diseases