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Papers of the Week

2021 Apr 22

Eur J Heart Fail

Splanchnic Nerve Modulation in Heart Failure: Mechanistic Overview, Initial Clinical Experience, and Safety Considerations.


Fudim M, Ponikowski P, Burkhoff D, Dunlap M, Sobotka PA, Molinger J, Patel MR, Felker MG, Hernandez AF, Litwin SE, Borlaug BA, Bapna A, Sievert H, Reddy VY, Engelman ZJ, Shah SJ
Eur J Heart Fail. 2021 Apr 22.
PMID: 33886137.


Volume recruitment from the splanchnic compartment is an important physiological response to stressors such as physical activity and blood loss. In the setting of heart failure (HF), excess fluid redistribution from this compartment leads to increased cardiac filling pressures with limitation in exercise capacity. Recent evidence suggests that blocking neural activity of the greater splanchnic nerve (GSN) could have significant benefits in some patients with heart failure (HF) by reducing cardiac filling pressures and improvement in exercise capacity. However, to date the long-term safety of splanchnic nerve modulation (SNM) in the setting of HF is unknown. SNM is currently used in clinical practice to alleviate some forms of chronic abdominal pain. A systematic review of series where permanent SNM was used as a treatment for chronic abdominal pain indicates that permanent SNM is well tolerated, with side-effects limited to transient diarrhea or abdominal colic and transient hypotension. The pathophysiological role of the GSN in volume redistribution, the encouraging findings of acute and chronic pilot SNM studies and the safety profile from permanent SNM for pain provides a strong basis for continued efforts to study this therapeutic target in HF.