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Schaefer J.,International Institute for Theoretical Cardiology IIfTC | Lohff B.,Hannover Medical School | Dittmer J.J.,International Institute for Theoretical Cardiology IIfTC
Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology | Year: 2014

Respiratory interactions with the heart have remained a challenging physiological phenomenon since their discovery more than two hundred and fifty years ago. In the course of translating the seminal publications of Carl Ludwig and his disciple Pavel Petrovich Einbrodt into English, we became aware of some under-appreciated aspects of their work that contain useful insights into the history of the phenomenon now called respiratory arrhythmia. Ludwig observed arrhythmic effects of respiratory movements in experiments on dogs and horses and published his findings in 1847. He subsequently undertook further work on this problem, together with Einbrodt. Already in 1847 Ludwig had mentioned an exciting observation on the possible role of mechanical factors of the respiratory movements on the action of the heart in a dog in whom he had artificially induced bouts of coughing. Einbrodt decided to systematically develop methods to increase or decrease the pressure of the air the animal had to breathe. He observed that this procedure led to a greater or lesser degree of compression or decompression of all the organs in the thoracic cavity without apparently causing harmful consequences during the time of its application. How the mechanical influence of breathing affects cardiac activity during respiratory arrhythmia has been the subject of scientific discussions and controversies over a period of more than 150 years and is still unresolved. Recent publications suggest that cardiac mechano-electrical coupling plays an important role in the emergence of cardio-respiratory interdependence. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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