The Mechanism of Cardiac Sympathetic Activity Assessment Methods: Current Knowledge

Author: Jiakun Li1, Lihui Zheng1
1 National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Fuwai Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.
Conference/Journal: Front Cardiovasc Med
Date published: 2022 Jun 23
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Pages: 931219 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2022.931219. , Word Count: 227

This review has summarized the methods currently available for cardiac sympathetic assessment in clinical or under research, with emphasis on the principles behind these methodologies. Heart rate variability (HRV) and other methods based on heart rate pattern analysis can reflect the dominance of sympathetic nerve to sinoatrial node function and indirectly show the average activity level of cardiac sympathetic nerve in a period of time. Sympathetic neurotransmitters play a key role of signal transduction after sympathetic nerve discharges. Plasma or local sympathetic neurotransmitter detection can mediately display sympathetic nerve activity. Given cardiac sympathetic nerve innervation, i.e., the distribution of stellate ganglion and its nerve fibers, stellate ganglion activity can be recorded either directly or subcutaneously, or through the surface of the skin using a neurophysiological approach. Stellate ganglion nerve activity (SGNA), subcutaneous nerve activity (SCNA), and skin sympathetic nerve activity (SKNA) can reflect immediate stellate ganglion discharge activity, i.e., cardiac sympathetic nerve activity. These cardiac sympathetic activity assessment methods are all based on the anatomy and physiology of the heart, especially the sympathetic innervation and the sympathetic regulation of the heart. Technological advances, discipline overlapping, and more understanding of the sympathetic innervation and sympathetic regulation of the heart will promote the development of cardiac sympathetic activity assessment methods.

Keywords: cardiac sympathetic activity assessment; mechanism; stellate ganglion; sympathetic innervation; sympathetic regulation.

PMID: 35811701 PMCID: PMC9262089 DOI: 10.3389/fcvm.2022.931219