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05/01/2007 - Electro-acupuncture Decreases the Susceptibility to Ventricular Tachycardia in Conscious Rats by Reducing Cardiac Metabolic Demand.

Author(s): Lujan HL, Kramer VA, Dicarlo SE.


Physiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, United States.

Reperfusion after a brief period of cardiac ischemia can lead to potentially lethal arrhythmias. Clinical observations and experimental work with animals suggest that acupuncture may have therapeutic effects for individuals with coronary heart disease, certain arrhythmias, and myocardial ischemia. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that electro-acupuncture reduces the susceptibility to ischemia/reperfusion-mediated ventricular tachyarrhythmias. To test this hypothesis, we measured the susceptibility to ventricular tachyarrhythmias produced by three minutes of occlusion and reperfusion of the left main coronary artery in conscious rats under two experimental conditions: 1) control and 2) with electro-acupuncture. Acupuncture was simulated by electrically stimulating the median nerves (corresponding to the Jianshi-Neiguan (P 5-6) acupoints). Results document a significantly lower incidence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias with electro-acupuncture (2 of 8, 25%) relative to control (14 of 14, 100%) rats. The decreased susceptibility to tachyarrhythmias with electro-acupuncture was associated with a reduced cardiac metabolic demand (lower rate-pressure product and ST-segment elevation) during ischemia. Key words: cardiovascular risks, acupuncture, arrhythmia.

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