Heart rate variability in patients with frontal lobe epilepsy

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Harnod T, Yang CCH, Hsin YL, Wang PJ, Shieh KR, and Kuo TBJ (2009) Heart rate variability in patients with frontal lobe epilepsy. Seizure 18:1 21–5.

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To identify autonomic dysregulation in frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE). METHODS: We studied 14 male and 11 female subjects with FLE and an equal number of matched healthy control subjects. Lead I electrocardiograms were obtained for 5 min in the interictal state during daytime. Frequency-domain analysis of heart rate variability was performed and the data subsequently converted to heart rate interval and high frequency (HF; 0.15-0.45 Hz) power which representing vagal or parasympathetic regulation, as well as low frequency (LF; 0.04-0.15 Hz) power and LF/(HF+LF) expressed in normalized units (LF%) (considered to mirror sympathetic regulation). Differences in data between groups were compared using t-test. RESULTS: The epilepsy group had a lower mean heart rate interval and a lower high frequency power. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with FLE have interictally faster heart rates, attributed to lower parasympathetic drive, which may contribute to the higher incidence of sudden death that is seen in this group of patients. This suggests that the mechanism of decreased HRV in patients with FLE is probably different from that in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.

Keywords: Autonomic, Epilepsy, Frontal, Heart rate variability


  • Study in 14 male and 11 female patients with frontal lobe epilepsy and matched controls. e study group had less power in low-frequency ranges, consistent with reduced parasympathetic input. The authors discuss the differences of this result from those obtained in studies of HRV in TLE patients such as Hilz et al.