Effects of seizure severity and seizure repetition on postictal cardiac arrhythmia following maximal electroshock

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Darbin O, Casebeer D, and Naritoku DK (2003) Effects of seizure severity and seizure repetition on postictal cardiac arrhythmia following maximal electroshock. Exp Neurol 181:2 327–31.

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Abstract: Convulsive seizures triggered by maximal electroshock (MES) induce profound abnormalities in neural regulation of cardiac rhythm that are manifested by a period of marked cardiac arrhythmia in the immediate postictal state. It is not known whether seizure severity or seizure experience may influence the duration of cardiac arrhythmia in the postictal state. We varied the duration of MES administered to rats to vary seizure severity, as measured by the extensor to flexion (E/F) ratio. In separate experiments, rats were subjected to daily MES. Finally, we pretreated rats with ketamine prior to MES to block seizures hindlimb extension. In all animals, the R-R interval was plotted on the tachogram, and the duration of the arrhythmia was measured. Increases in MES duration increased significantly the E/F ratio and prolonged significantly the postictal cardiac arrhythmia. Repetition of MES caused a kindling effect with respect to seizure severity resulting in a significant increase of the E/F ratio and significant increases in the duration of postictal arrhythmia. Blocking of the hindlimb extension by ketamine abolished arrhythmia suggesting that the arrhythmia is not caused directly by MES. Severity of tonic convulsive seizures is a determinant of disordered cardiac autonomic regulation and directly influences the duration of cardiac arrhythmia during the immediate postictal state following MES. Seizure repetition also increases abnormalities of postictal neural regulation of the heart, but further studies are needed to determine whether this effect is independent of seizure severity increases.

Keywords: Epilepsy; Seizures; Cardiac arrhythmia; Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP); Maximal electroshock; Kindling; Tonic-clonic


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