Neural mechanisms of atrial fibrillation

Hyung Wook Park, Mark J. Shen, Shien-Fong Lin, Michael C. Fishbein, Lan Chen, Peng-Sheng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: The autonomic nerve system is a potentially potent modulator of the initiation and perpetuation of atrial fibrillation. This review will briefly summarize the neural mechanisms of atrial fibrillation. Recent Findings: Complex interactions exist between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system on the atrial electrophysiologic properties. Direct autonomic recordings in canine models demonstrated simultaneous sympathovagal discharges are the most common triggers of paroxysmal atrial tachycardia and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Also, intrinsic cardiac autonomic nerve can serve as a sole triggering factor for the initiation of atrial fibrillation. Modulation of autonomic nervous system (ANS) by electrical stimulation has been tried as a treatment strategy clinically and experimentally. Recent studies showed that autonomic nervous system modulation can suppress the stellate ganglion nerve activity and reduce the incidence of paroxysmal atrial tachyarrhythmias in ambulatory dogs. Summary: The autonomic nerve system influences the initiation and perpetuation of atrial fibrillation. Scientific advances toward a better understanding of the complex interrelationships of the various components of the ANS will hopefully lead to improvement of treatments for this common arrhythmia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


Atrial Fibrillation
Autonomic Pathways
Autonomic Nervous System
Parasympathetic Nervous System
Stellate Ganglion
Paroxysmal Tachycardia
Peptide Initiation Factors
Sympathetic Nervous System
Electric Stimulation
Cardiac Arrhythmias


  • atrial fibrillation
  • autonomic nerve
  • vagal nerve stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Neural mechanisms of atrial fibrillation. / Park, Hyung Wook; Shen, Mark J.; Lin, Shien-Fong; Fishbein, Michael C.; Chen, Lan; Chen, Peng-Sheng.

In: Current Opinion in Cardiology, Vol. 27, No. 1, 01.2012, p. 24-28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Park, Hyung Wook ; Shen, Mark J. ; Lin, Shien-Fong ; Fishbein, Michael C. ; Chen, Lan ; Chen, Peng-Sheng. / Neural mechanisms of atrial fibrillation. In: Current Opinion in Cardiology. 2012 ; Vol. 27, No. 1. pp. 24-28.
title = "Neural mechanisms of atrial fibrillation",
abstract = "Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.",
keywords = "atrial fibrillation, autonomic nerve, vagal nerve stimulation",
author = "Park, {Hyung Wook} and Shen, {Mark J.} and Shien-Fong Lin and Fishbein, {Michael C.} and Lan Chen and Peng-Sheng Chen",
year = "2012",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1097/HCO.0b013e32834dc4e8",
language = "English",
volume = "27",
pages = "24--28",
journal = "Current Opinion in Cardiology",
issn = "0268-4705",
publisher = "Lippincott Williams and Wilkins",
number = "1",



T1 - Neural mechanisms of atrial fibrillation

AU - Park, Hyung Wook

AU - Shen, Mark J.

AU - Lin, Shien-Fong

AU - Fishbein, Michael C.

AU - Chen, Lan

AU - Chen, Peng-Sheng

PY - 2012/1

Y1 - 2012/1

N2 - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

AB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

KW - atrial fibrillation

KW - autonomic nerve

KW - vagal nerve stimulation

UR -

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U2 - 10.1097/HCO.0b013e32834dc4e8

DO - 10.1097/HCO.0b013e32834dc4e8

M3 - Article

C2 - 22139702

AN - SCOPUS:83055161463

VL - 27

SP - 24

EP - 28

JO - Current Opinion in Cardiology

JF - Current Opinion in Cardiology

SN - 0268-4705

IS - 1

ER -