[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 12, 1948

SYMPATHETIC INNERVATION OF THE HEART IN MAN: Preliminary Observations of the Effect of Thoracic Sympathectomy on Heart Rate

JAMA. 1948;137(7):579-584. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890410001001

Control of the heart rate in man has long been sought. Slowing of the rapid heart rate has been attempted by several methods, the common one being the use of body rest and drugs. However, these methods have often failed the physician, and so the search continues for better ways to control the human heart rate.

In 1863 von Bezold1 clarified especially the control of the heart rate by the vagus nerve. Hunt2 observed in 1899 that the loss of vagus tone caused an acceleration of heart rate by shortening the diastolic period. It was the conclusion of Krogh and Lindhard3 in 1913 that the initial acceleration of the pulse in voluntary movement is the result of an outflow of impulses from the cortical motor centers of the vagus. This was distinct from the stimulation of the accelerator nerves via the sympathetic that caused a shortening of