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Catecholamines can result in ventricular tachyarrhythmias. We examined whether noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation (NVNS) can prevent epinephrine-induced ventricular tachycardia (VT) in a canine model.
Fourteen open-chest anesthetized dogs were randomly designed into NVNS group (NVNS plus epinephrine injection, n=7) and control group (sham stimulation plus epinephrine injection, n=7). NVNS was performed for 1 hour before the administration of epinephrine. T-wave alternans (TWA) level, VT prevalence, the VT threshold (according to the dose of epinephrine administered), left stellate ganglion (LSG) function and neural activity were compared between the two groups.
Compared to baseline, NVNS for 1 hour significantly attenuated LSG function and neural activity, whereas no significant change was shown after 1 hour of sham stimulation. Injection of epinephrine resulted in a significant increase in TWA level and LSG neural activity in the control group, which were attenuated in the NVNS group. NVNS dramatically decreased VT prevalence and increased VT threshold when compared to the control group. In addition, NVNS eliminated the VT-associated hypotension.
NVNS could prevent catecholamine-induced VT, possibly by suppressing LSG activity.