Heart rate changes during partial seizures: a study amongst Singaporean patients

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Wilder-Smith E and Lim SH (2001) Heart rate changes during partial seizures: a study amongst Singaporean patients. BMC Neurol p. 5.

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Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Studies in Europe and America showed that tachycardia, less often bradycardia, frequently accompanied partial seizures in Caucasian patients. We determine frequency, magnitude and type of ictal heart rate changes during partial seizures in non-Caucasian patients in Singapore. METHODS: Partial seizures recorded during routine EEGs performed in a tertiary hospital between 1995 and 1999 were retrospectively reviewed. All routine EEGs had simultaneous ECG recording. Heart rate before and during seizures was determined and correlated with epileptogenic focus. Differences in heart rate before and during seizures were grouped into 4 types: (1) >10% decrease; (2) -10 to +20% change; (3) 20-50% increase; (3) >50% increase. RESULTS: Of the total of 37 partial seizures, 18 were left hemisphere (LH), 13 were right hemisphere (RH) and 6 were bilateral (BL) in onset. 51% of all seizures showed no significant change in heart rate (type 2), 22% had moderate sinus tachycardia (type 3), 11% showed severe sinus tachycardia (type 4), while 16% had sinus bradycardia (type 1). Asystole was recorded in one seizure. Apart from having more tachycardia in bilateral onset seizures, there was no correlation between side of ictal discharge and heart rate response. Compared to Caucasian patients, sinus tachycardia was considerably less frequent. Frequency of bradycardia was similar to those recorded in the literature. CONCLUSIONS: Significant heart rate changes during partial seizures were seen in half of Singaporean patients. Although sinus tachycardia was the most common heart rate change, the frequency was considerably lower compared to Caucasian patients. This might be due to methodological and ethnic differences. Rates of bradycardia are similar to those recorded in the literature.

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