Effect of canine cardiac nerves on heart rate, rhythm, and pacemaker location

R. B. Schuessler, J. P. Boineau, A. C. Wylds, D. A. Hill, C. B. Miller, W. R. Roeske

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54 Scopus citations


In open-chest dogs, right- and left-sided cardiac nerves were stimulated to determine their effect on heart rate, rhythm, and pacemaker location. The majority of the nerves produced chronotropic changes; 72% of the induced rhythms originated from within the atrial pacemaker complex. Ten percent of the stimulations produced an atrioventricular (AV) nodal rhythm; most of the time this was induced by the left posterior and anterior ansae and ventrolateral nerves. The dominance of a lateral right atrial pacemaker was observed in 8% of the stimulations; the dorsal cardiac and innominate nerves induced this rhythm the majority of the time. The general trend was for a cranial shift in the location of the pacemaker within the pacemaker complex with sympathetic stimulation and a caudal shift with parasympathetic stimulation. Exceptions to the pattern may be explained by the preferential effect of the nerves on the pacemakers in the right atrium. The study demonstrates, in the canine model, that in addition to the sinus and AV nodes, there is a system of pacemakers controlled by the cardiac nerves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H630-H644
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 (19/4)
StatePublished - 1986


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