Serious arrhythmias often follow stroke, highlighting the important role that the cerebral cortex has in neural regulation of the heart. Neuroimaging studies reveal patterns of activation associated with autonomic cardiovascular responses. Using the activation likelihood estimation, a meta-analysis was performed to identify cortical activation patterns related to heart rate and heart rate variability across studies that used differing stimuli of cardiovascular arousal. Consistent associations with heart rate and heart rate variability were observed in the anterior cingulate, amygdala, insula, and prefrontal cortex, among others. Also, evidence is provided of insular lateralization associated with autonomic cardiac responses. Ann Neurol 2016;79:709-716.
© 2016 American Neurological Association.