Role of the carotid body in the pathophysiology of heart failure

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 Aug;15(4):356-62. doi: 10.1007/s11906-013-0368-x.


Important recent advances implicate a role of the carotid body (CB) chemoreflex in sympathetic and breathing dysregulation in several cardio-respiratory diseases, drawing renewed interest in its potential implications for clinical treatment. Evidence from both chronic heart failure (CHF) patients and animal models indicates that the CB chemoreflex is enhanced in CHF, and contributes to the tonic elevation in sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) and periodic breathing associated with the disease. Although this maladaptive change likely derives from altered function at all levels of the reflex arc, a change in afferent function of the CB is likely to be a main driving force. This review will focus on recent advances in our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms that alter CB function in CHF and their potential translational impact on treatment of chronic heart failure (CHF).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carotid Body / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology