The Impact of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation on Coronary Blood Flow and Endothelial Function
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The geko™ device is a small transcutaneous nerve stimulator that is applied non-invasively to the skin over the common peroneal nerve to stimulate peripheral blood flow. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of peripheral nerve stimulation on coronary flow dynamics and systemic endothelial function.
We enrolled 10 male patients, age 59 ± 11 years, with symptomatic obstructive coronary disease undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Coronary flow dynamics were assessed invasively using Doppler flow wire at baseline and with nerve stimulation for 4 min. Measurements were taken in the stenotic coronary artery and in a control vessel without obstructive disease. At a separate visit, peripheral blood flow at the popliteal artery (using duplex ultrasound assessment) and endothelial function assessed by peripheral artery tonometry (PAT) were measured at baseline and after one hour of nerve stimulation.
Compared to baseline, there was a significant increase in coronary blood flow as measured by average peak velocity (APV) in the control vessel with nerve stimulation (20.3 ± 7.7 to 23.5 ± 10 cm/s; p = 0.03) and non-significant increase in the stenotic vessel (21.9 ± 12 to 23.9 ± 12.9 cm/s; p = 0.23). Coronary flow reserve did not change significantly. Reactive hyperemia-peripheral arterial tonometry (Rh-PAT) increased from 2.28 ± 0.39 to 2.67 ± 0.6, p = 0.045.
A few minutes of peripheral nerve stimulation may improve coronary blood flow. This effect is more prominent in non-stenotic vessels. Longer stimulation improved endothelial function.
KeywordsAngina Endothelium Blood flow Coronary artery disease Electrical stimulation
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors report no relationships that could be construed as a conflict of interest.
The study was supported by an unrestricted grant from Firstkind Ltd. (United Kingdom).
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