Sympathetic tone is important in cardiac arrhythmogenesis; however, methods to estimate sympathetic tone are either invasive or require proper sinus node function that may be abnormal in disease states. Because of the direct and extensive connections among various nerve structures, it is possible for the sympathetic nerves in the various structures to activate simultaneously. Therefore, we hypothesized that nerve activity can be recorded from the skin and it can be used to estimate the cardiac sympathetic tone. Preclinical studies in canines demonstrated that nerve activity is detectable using conventional ECG electrodes and can be used to estimate cardiac sympathetic tone. Subsequent clinical studies further supported this concept. In addition to studying the autonomic mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmia, these new methods may have broad application in studying both cardiac and non-cardiac diseases.
- Autonomic nervous system
- Sympathetic nerve activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine