The challenge of magnetic vagal nerve stimulation for myocardial infarction -preliminary clinical trial

Takuya Nishikawa, Keita Saku, Koji Todaka, Yukimitsu Kuwabara, Shinobu Arai, Takuya Kishi, Tomomi Ide, Hiroyuki Tsutsui, Kenji Sunagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous studies have shown in animal models that vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) strikingly reduces infarct size of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and prevents heart failure. However, the lack of techniques to noninvasively stimulate the vagal nerve hinders VNS from clinical applications. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is noninvasive and capable of stimulating central neurons in patients. In this study, we examined whether the magnetic stimulation could noninvasively activate the cervical vagal nerve in healthy human. Sixteen healthy males and 4 females were enrolled in this study. We used Magstim Rapid2 with a 70-mm double coil in the right neck. We randomly assigned the subjects to 5 Hz or 20 Hz stimulation. We defined the maximum intensity of stimulation (MAX) which is the intensity just below the threshold of adverse effects. We defined HALF as a half of MAX. Protocols comprised 2 sets of MAX and 2 sets of HALF. Each stimulation continued for 3 minutes. We monitored heart rate (HR) and assessed the bradycardic response as an index of successful VNS. Nineteen subjects completed all protocols. They had no problematic adverse events during and/or after magnetic VNS. The magnetic VNS induced transient bradycardic responses in some subjects, whereas failed to induce sustained bradycardia in pooled data in any settings. Arterial pressure did not change either. Successful magnetic stimulation requires technical improvements including narrowing the magnetic focus and optimization of stimulation site. These improvements may enable us to apply magnetic VNS in the management of AMI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4321-4324
Number of pages4
JournalAnnual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


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