Mechanisms of pain in angina pectoris--a critical review of the adenosine hypothesis

Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
C Sylvén

Abstract

Clinical characteristics: Angina pectoris represents a visceral pain caused by reversible myocardial ischemia. The majority of ischemic attacks are symptomless. When pain is manifested, it appears late during the ischemic event. The pain is complex in its quality and bears little relation to the region of myocardial ischemia. Pain shows a sensitive dependence on initial conditions suggesting a mechanism with deterministic chaotic dynamics for the association between myocardial ischemia and pain. Neurophysiological substrate: Ganglia are present within the heart, particularly in epicardial fat. The blood supply of intrinsic cardiac ganglia arises primarily from branches of the proximal coronary arteries. Both afferent and efferent neurons within the intrinsic cardiac nervous system exist, while the majority of neurons in that location may be local circuit neurons. Integration takes place not only in the intrinsic cardiac nervous system, but also in mediastinal, middle cervical, and stellate ganglia. Cardiac afferent receptors are also connected to cell bodies in dorsal root and nodose ganglia, as well as intrathoracic ganglia. Myocardial regions have no spatial representation in these ganglia. Adenosine, among a number of substa...Continue Reading

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