Cardiac rhythm during temporal lobe seizures

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Epstein MA, Sperling MR, and O’Connor MJ (1992) Cardiac rhythm during temporal lobe seizures. Neurology 42:1 50–3.

Link to Article

Abstract: We studied the neuroanatomic correlates of ictal tachycardia in 27 seizures from five patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy being evaluated with bilateral temporal lobe depth electrodes and orbitofrontal subdural electrodes. There were 11 complex partial seizures, three simple partial seizures, and 13 subclinical seizures. For all seizures, heart rate (HR) increased in a graded fashion as new cortical regions anywhere in the brain were recruited into the seizure. HR plateaued at the new level despite EEG frequency changes until the next region became involved. Increases in HR did not correlate with increased duration of seizures but rather with volume of brain involved. Restricted amygdaloid seizure activity was generally insufficient to alter HR. We conclude that the amygdala has a limited role in modulating HR during seizures, and ictal tachycardia depends principally on the volume of cerebral structures recruited into a seizure.



  • Study of 27 seizures from 5 patients under evaluation for surgery with temporal lobe depth electrodes and subdural electrodes in the orbitofrontal region. 13 of the seizures detected were subclinical, 11 were complex partial, and 3 were simple partial. For all seizures heart rate increased as seizures spread. Seizures only involving the amygdala did not lead to changes in HR.


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