Even though the standard effect of atropine is to increase the heart rate by a vagolytic effect, small doses can paradoxically decrease the heart rate by a vagotonic effect. Low doses of atropine can also increase respiratory sinus arrhythmia due to an increase in parasympathetic activity [Montano N et al. Central Vagotonic Effects of Atropine Modulate Spectral Oscillations of Sympathetic Nerve Activity Circulation. 1998;98:1394-1399].
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