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May 1990

Cerebrogenic Cardiac Arrhythmias: Cerebral Electrocardiographic Influences and Their Role in Sudden Death

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Stroke and Aging, Robarts Research Institute (Drs Oppenheimer, Cechetto, and Hachinski), and the Departments of Clinical Neurological Sciences (Drs Oppenheimer, Cechetto, and Hachinski) and Physiology (Drs Cechetto and Hachinski), University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

Arch Neurol. 1990;47(5):513-519. doi:10.1001/archneur.1990.00530050029008

• Electrocardiographic repolarization changes, comprising QT prolongation, T-wave flattening or inversion, and ST-segment alterations, are most commonly seen after subarachnoid and intracerebral hemorrhage, but may occur in other neurologic conditions. They may presage arrhythmias. The effects likely are mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. Cerebral arrhythmogenesis may underlie sudden death in both normal and epileptic populations. Experimental evidence suggests that the insula has a cardiac chronotropic organization, and may be involved in the genesis of arrhythmias seen in epilepsy or after cerebral hemorrhage or stroke.

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