Unilateral cerebral inactivation produces differential left/right heart rate responses

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Zamrini EY, Meador KJ, Loring DW, Nichols FT, Lee GP, Figueroa RE, and Thompson WO (1990) Unilateral cerebral inactivation produces differential left/right heart rate responses. Neurology 40:9 1408–11.

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Abstract: We studied heart rate following unilateral hemispheric inactivation by intracarotid amobarbital in 25 patients undergoing preoperative evaluation for epilepsy surgery. Heart rate increased after left hemisphere inactivation, but decreased following right hemisphere inactivation. The results are consistent with differential left/right cerebral hemispheric effects on autonomic function, and appear related to functional and anatomic asymmetries in both the central and peripheral nervous systems.



  • To evaluate the lateralization of autonomic control, heart rate during hemispheric inactivation with amobarbitol. Study involved 25 patients. Inactivation of the left hemisphere led to an elevation of heart rate, whereas inactivation of the right side tended to produce a decrease of heart rate. Oppenheimer et al., 1992 had similar results in that direct stimulation of the left insula led to bradycardia and decreased blood pressure whereas that of right insula led to tachycardia and increased BP.


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