Sudden cardiac death is the most common cause of instant death. We know , heart is also under massive neurological control . Still , heart can run for days even after brain dies , if respiration is supported.This implies , heart is independent neurologically ! what a paradox ! But this independence of brain function after death makes the human heart transplantation possible.
Even as we “wow” about this cardiac independence , we witness widespread deaths due to sudden neuro- cardiogenic deaths .This makes medicine . . . a wonderful puzzle and compels us to pursuit the eternal journey of knowledge !
When an area of brain fibrillates what will the heart do ?
When the brain suddenly discharges huge amount of electricity (Load shedding ) as in epilepsy or some other neurological injury , it may travel down and make sure the heart also shares the electrical insult .Sudden deaths have been reported in many epileptic individuals and in some forms of stroke .To distinguish sudden brain deaths from sudden cardiac death in such patients is a very difficult task.
The message is , hypo-functioning brain does not generally harm the heart (Men in coma live for years !) but , over -active brain can inflict major electrical damage to heart. This may indirectly explain , how an episode of severe mental stress could act as a trigger for acute coronary syndromes.
* We do not know , whether brain stem which has the cardiac high command can fibrillate independent of cerebral cortex .
Asystole during epilepsy could occur in significant numbers. As this review from France reveals