RSD/CRPS is a very painful condition and initially patients may not full understand the long term implications of their condition of their cardiac function.
RSD/CRPS causes three independent negative influences on cardiac function.
1. The sympathetic system is responsible for three main functions, i.e., temperature regulation, vital signs, and regulation of the immune system. The vital signs in the form of heart beat, blood pressure and respiration are up regulated and accelerated by stimulation of the sympathetic system. RSD/CRPS is not a simple hyperactivity only causing stimulation of the sympathetic system, but it is the result of dysfunction of the sympathetic system. This dysfunction shows an instability of the sympathetic system at times causing fluctuation of blood pressure and at other times bringing on attacks of rapid heart beat.
2. The second reason RSD/CRPS affects cardiac function is due to the anatomical innervation of the heart muscles. Of all the visceral organs, the heart has the richest innervation of the sympathetic system, which is in the form of the cardiac plexus, a rich plexus of nerves surrounding the heart. In any stressful condition, the natural response is rapid heart beat accompanied by an increase in blood pressure. The RSD/CRPS being a distressful type of dysfunction of the sympathetic system, results in repetitive pathological and exaggerated response of the sympathetic system to stress, chest pain, palpation, with frequent bouts of high blood pressure.
3. One of the main principles with the development of RSD/CRPS is inflammation and RSD/CRPS is a condition with four major features: