Are Heart Attacks Really Brain Attacks?

  • S. R. Levine
  • V. M. Patel
  • K. M. A. Welch
  • J. E. Skinner
Part of the Clinical Medicine and the Nervous System book series (CLIN.MED.NERV.)


In 1664, Thomas Willis recognized that the brain and the cardiovascular system are interdependent-when he wrote De Anatome Cerebri (Willis 1664). For the relief of angina pain, Francois Franck, in 1899, proposed a cervicothoracic sympathectomy to interrupt the nociceptive cardiac efferents (Franck, cited by Danielopolu 1949). Through clinical and experimental work, a high thoracic sympathectomy was found to benefit angina (Leriche et al.* 1931) and attenuate the tendency to ventricular fibrillation. Cox and Robertson (1936) reduced the incidence of acute cardiac deaths in dogs with stellate ganglionectomy following experimental coronary occlusion. Cannon (1931) hypothesized that the most highly encephalized parts of the brain should regulate both sensory input and autonomic output during an animal’s response to a significant stimulus. Smith (1945) demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the cingulate cortex within the frontal lobe could temporarily stop the heart.


Anorexia Nervosa Sudden Death Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Sudden Cardiac Death Ventricular Fibrillation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. R. Levine
  • V. M. Patel
  • K. M. A. Welch
  • J. E. Skinner

There are no affiliations available

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