Regulation of Ventricular Contraction
Influence of Cardiac Sympathetic and Vagal Nerve Stimulation on Atrial and Ventricular Dynamics
At constant heart rates, efferent stimulation of the vagus nerve and of the left stellate ganglion revealed the following: 1. Vagal stimulation exerts a profound depressant effect on the strength of the atrial contraction and can thereby influence ventricular filling and ventricular stroke work; it elevates mean atrial pressure at any given level of ventricular stroke work. This occurs under experimental conditions wherein the vagal stimulation used does not produce an alteration in the performance characteristics of the ventricle. The effects of vagal stimulation are blocked by atropine. 2. Stellate ganglion stimulation or norepinephrine infusion augments the strength of atrial contraction and thus the atrial contribution to ventricular filling. The augmented atrial contraction takes place in a shorter period of time. 3. Stellate ganglion stimulation or norepinephrine infusion increases the external stroke work and power produced by the ventricle from any given mean atrial pressure and from any given end-diastolic pressure or fiber length.4. There is a family of curves representing the relation between end-diastolic fiber length and stroke work, as well as a family of curves representing the relation between mean atrial or end-diastolic pressure and stroke work.5. When taken together with the well-known sympathetic and parasympathetic effects on heart rate, the above data are believed to comprise a reasonably comprehensive description of the means available to the central nervous system for directly inducing acute changes in the activity of the heart.
- Received June 13, 1960.
- © 1960 American Heart Association, Inc.