While atrial fibrillation is characterized by the co-existence of multiple activation waves within the atria, rapid activations in the pulmonary veins play an important role for the initiation and maintenance of atrial fibrillation. In addition to reentry, non-reentrant mechanisms resulting from abnormal intracellular calcium handling and intracellular calcium overload can also be responsible for these rapid activations in the pulmonary veins. Meanwhile, alterations of autonomic tone, involving both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, have been implicated in initiating paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. But the effectiveness of autonomic modulation as an adjunctive therapeutic strategy to catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation has been inconsistent. The interactions between the autonomic nervous system and atrial fibrillation are more complex than currently understood and further mechanistic and clinical studies are warranted.
- Nervous system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine