Coronary heart disease and psychological stress factors such as depression are prevalent and associated with high morbidity/mortality; they are also challenging to manage, especially when treated in isolation of each other. Recent advances support an integrated approach to their management that is built on a foundation of an extensive, multi-component network of neurological structures. In this review, we describe this extensive cardioneural network that encompasses the heart, brain, spinal cord, and ganglia throughout the body, and then discuss ambulatory and laboratory-based non-invasive measures of this network that both measure psychological stress and heart disease severity. Lastly, we discuss their potential transformative clinical and public health applications, and also possible cardioneural interventions such as exercise and biofeedback.
Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; Heart rate variability; Neurocardiology.
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