Effects of Respiratory Center Activity on the Heart
Rhythmic fluctuations in heart rate and ventricular contractility at the frequency of the respiratory movements were observed in innervated, isovolumetric, canine, left ventricle preparations. The heart rate and contractility waves probably represent the radiation of activity from the respiratory centers to the cardiac autonomic centers within the central nervous system. In spontaneously beating hearts, the respiratory cardiac arrhythmia is mediated via the vagi predominantly, although a slight arrhythmia is still evident after bilateral vagotomy. The greater the vagal tone, the greater is the amplitude of the arrhythmia.
In paced hearts, the contractility waves exhibit significantly greater phase lags than do the heart rate waves in unpaced beats. The magnitude of the contractility waves varies inversely with the respiratory frequency. These waves are more prominent after bilateral vagotomy. Therefore, sympathetic influences appear to predominate in the mediation of the contractility waves, although the change in wave amplitude after vagotomy must be ascribed partly to the deceleration of respiratory frequency which occurs after vagotomy. The contractility waves represent rhythmic augmentations of contractility above a base line level after vagal section.
- Accepted June 30, 1965.
- © 1966 American Heart Association, Inc.