Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation: A Novel Method of Resuscitation for Hemorrhagic Shock

Chunyan Li, Amrit Chiluwal, Adil Afridi, Wayne Chaung, Keren Powell, Weng Lang Yang, Ping Wang, Raj K. Narayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine if trigeminal nerve stimulation can ameliorate the consequences of acute blood loss and improve survival after severe hemorrhagic shock. Design: Animal study. Setting: University research laboratory. Subjects: Male Sprague-Dawley rats. Interventions: Severe hemorrhagic shock was induced in rats by withdrawing blood until the mean arterial blood pressure reached 27±1mm Hg for the first 5 minutes and then maintained at 27±2mm Hg for 30 minutes. The rats were randomly assigned to either control, vehicle, or trigeminal nerve stimulation treatment groups. The effects of trigeminal nerve stimulation on survival rate, autonomic nervous system activity, hemodynamics, brain perfusion, catecholamine release, and systemic inflammation after severe hemorrhagic shock in the absence of fluid resuscitation were analyzed. Measurements and Main Results: Trigeminal nerve stimulation significantly increased the short-term survival of rats following severe hemorrhagic shock in the absence of fluid resuscitation. The survival rate at 60 minutes was 90% in trigeminal nerve stimulation treatment group whereas 0% in control group (p < 0.001). Trigeminal nerve stimulation elicited strong synergistic coactivation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system as measured by heart rate variability. Without volume expansion with fluid resuscitation, trigeminal nerve stimulation significantly attenuated sympathetic hyperactivity paralleled by increase in parasympathetic tone, delayed hemodynamic decompensation, and improved brain perfusion following severe hemorrhagic shock. Furthermore, trigeminal nerve stimulation generated sympathetically mediated low-frequency oscillatory patterns of systemic blood pressure associated with an increased tolerance to central hypovolemia and increased levels of circulating norepinephrine levels. Trigeminal nerve stimulation also decreased systemic inflammation compared with the vehicle. Conclusions: Trigeminal nerve stimulation was explored as a novel resuscitation strategy in an animal model of hemorrhagic shock. The results of this study showed that the stimulation of trigeminal nerve modulates both sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity to activate an endogenous pressor response, improve cerebral perfusion, and decrease inflammation, thereby improving survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E478-E484
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • autonomic nervous system
  • hemorrhagic shock
  • neuromodulation
  • resuscitation
  • sympathetic nervous system
  • trigeminal nerve stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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