Heart Rate Depression Due to Anesthesia – Understanding the Cause
In veterinary medicine when the technician is anesthetizing a patient with an inhalant anesthetic, the complete anesthetic protocol could include an anticholinergic to thwart the bradycardia that can effect some patients. General anesthesia is notorious for causing heart rate depression in both animals and humans but until now, science knew little of why this occurs.
Using rat heart muscle, two groups of anesthetics were used and heart muscle function was measured. The second set of experiments noted the anesthetics binding to muscle proteins, including actin and myocin, which play a role in muscle force. The scientists then honed in on the domain of these proteins which proved to be critical for the proteins role in contractile functions. Anesthetics binding to these proteins compromised the heart pumping function. Armed with this information, medicines can be developed to combat this dangerous side effect.
This study also shows that the many years of education human anesthesiologists must undergo and the credentials of a certified, registered, or licensed veterinary technician are paramount to safe general anesthesia for our loved ones and pets.