Vagus nerve stimulation: An evolving adjunctive treatment for cardiac disease

Barış Akdemir, David G Benditt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The vagus nerve is a major component of the autonomic nervous system and plays a critical role in many body functions including for example, speech, swallowing, heart rate and respiratory control, gastric secretion, and intestinal motility. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) refers to any technique that stimulates the vagus nerve, with electrical stimulation being the most important. Implantable devices for VNS are approved therapy for refractory epilepsy and for treatment-resistant depression. In the case of heart disease applications, implantable VNS has been shown to be beneficial for treating heart failure in both preclinical and clinical studies. Adverse effects of implantable VNS therapy systems are generally associated with the implantation procedure or continuous on-off stimulation. The most serious implantation-associated adverse effect is infection. The effectiveness of non-invasive transcutaneous VNS for epilepsy, depression, primary headaches, heart failure, and other conditions remains under investigation. VNS merits further study for its potentially favorable effects on cardiovascular disease, especially heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-810
Number of pages7
JournalAnatolian Journal of Cardiology
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by Turkish Society of Cardiology.

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart failure
  • Vagus nerve stimulation
  • Ventricular arrhythmia

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