Disturbances in sympathetic and parasympathetic regulation of the heart are associated with increased vulnerability to sudden cardiac death. Destabilizing neural input to the vagus and cardiac sympathetic nerves may originate from mechanically irritated intervertebral joints. Asymptomatic spinal joint dysfunction can affect the autonomic nervous system and may activate potent somatocardiac reflexes. Aberrant neural impulses from vertebral dysfunction may adversely affect the electrical stability of the heart and increase susceptibility to ventricular fibrillation. Correcting the spinal joint dysfunction which activates these articulovisceral reflexes may have beneficial effects in decreasing vulnerability to sudden cardiac death.
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