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A rapid increase in arterial plasma potassium concentration to values seen during intense exercise depresses cardiac function at rest. Increasing the cardiac concentration of noradrenaline by right-sided sympathetic stimulation in eleven anaesthetized pigs significantly augmented cardiovascular performance during hyperkalaemia, while electrical pacing of the right atrium at equivalent rates to sympathetic stimulation afforded no protection against the deleterious effects of hyperkalaemia. We conclude that the inotropic effect of sympathetic activation may be important in sustaining cardiac function during exercise-induced hyperkalaemia.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Physiol

Publication Date





549 - 552


Animals, Female, Heart, Hyperkalemia, Myocardium, Norepinephrine, Physical Conditioning, Animal, Potassium, Rest, Swine, Sympathetic Nervous System, Unconsciousness