Ramachandran Gopinath, Syama Sundar Ayya
Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
The interaction between the heart and brain is complex and integral to the maintenance of normal cardiovascular function. Even in the absence of coronary disease, acute neuronal injury can induce a variety of cardiac changes. Recent neuroimaging data revealed a network including the insular cortex, anterior cingulate gyrus, and amygdala playing a crucial role in the regulation of central autonomic nervous system. Damage in these areas has been associated with arrhythmia, myocardial injury, higher plasma levels of brain natriuretic peptide, catecholamines, and glucose. Some patients after brain injury may die due to occult cardiac damage and functional impairment in the acute phase. Heart failure adversely influences acute stroke mortality. Troponin and NT-proBNP are elevated in acute brain injury patients, in response to the activated renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system and other neurohumoral changes, as a protective mechanism for sympathoinhibitory activity. Such patients have been shown to be associated with higher short- and long-term mortality. While thrombolysis, neuroprotection, and other measures, alone or in combination, may limit the cerebral damage, attention should also be directed toward the myocardial protection. Early administration of cardioprotective medication aimed at reducing increased sympathetic tone may have a role in myocardial protection in stroke patients. For a full understanding of the brain–heart control, the consequences of disruption of this control, the true incidence of cardiac effects of stroke, and the evidence-based treatment options further research are needed.
Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
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