Definition and diagnosis of the trigeminocardiac reflex: A grounded theory approach for an update

Cyrill Meuwly, Tumul Chowdhury, Nora Sandu, Eugene Golanov, Paul Erne, Thomas Rosemann, Bernhard Schaller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: The trigeminocardiac reflex (TCR) is defined as sudden onset of parasympathetic dysrhythmias including hemodynamic irregularities, apnea, and gastric hypermotility during stimulation of sensory branches of the trigeminal nerve. Since the first description of the TCR in 1999, there is an ongoing discussion about a more emergent clinical definition. In this work, the author worked out an approach to such an improved definition. Methods: In this study, a grounded theory approach was used. Literature about TCR was systematically identified through Pub Med (MEDLINE), EMBASE (Ovid SP), and ISI Web of Sciences databases from 1/2005 until 8/2015. TCR was defined as a drop of heart rate (HR) below 60 bpm or 20% to the baseline. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze and interpret the data through a synthesis by the researcher's perspectives, values, and positions. Results: Out of the included studies, the authors formed available data to an update of the understanding of changes in hemodynamic parameters (HR and blood pressure) in a TCR. According to this update, an HR deceleration should be a constant observation to identify a TCR episode while a drop in blood pressure should probably not being fixed to a certain percentage of decrease. Conclusion: The here presented working definition improves our understanding of the TCR. It leads the way to a new understanding of the TCR for a proper clinical definition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number533
Pages (from-to)533
Number of pages1
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 9 2017


  • Oculocardiac
  • Reflex
  • Reflex
  • Trigeminocardiac
  • Trigeminocardiac reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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