Supraventricular tachycardia in patients with right hemisphere strokes.
The physiological basis for the arrhythmias commonly observed after a stroke is not well understood. Based on evidence that the right and left cerebral hemispheres influence cardiac function in different ways, we sought to determine whether the nature and severity of cardiac arrhythmias in the context of an acute stroke vary in relation to whether the stroke is located in the left or the right hemisphere.
Data were obtained from the medical records of nineteen patients with left hemisphere strokes and nineteen patients with right hemisphere strokes who had also had 24-hour electrocardiographic (Holter) recordings within 2 weeks of admission to a stroke unit. Written Holter monitor reports already on file were used for the data analysis.
All four patients with supraventricular tachycardia had right hemisphere strokes (p = 0.05). There was a nonsignificant trend for left hemisphere stroke patients to have more severe ventricular arrhythmias.
These data provide partial support for the hypothesis that the two cerebral hemispheres have a differential influence on the nature and severity of arrhythmias following an acute stroke. We speculate that parasympathetic tone was diminished ipsilateral to the affected hemisphere associated with a reciprocal rise in sympathetic tone on that side and recommend that a prospective study be undertaken to test this hypothesis more definitively.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association