Postictal heart rate oscillations in partial epilepsy

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Al-Aweel IC, Krishnamurthy KB, Hausdorff JM, Mietus JE, Ives JR, Blum AS, Schomer DL, and Goldberger AL (1999) Postictal heart rate oscillations in partial epilepsy. Neurology 53:7 1590–2.

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Abstract: We report postictal heart rate oscillations in a heterogeneous group of patients with partial epilepsy. This pattern is marked by the appearance of transient but prominent low-frequency heart rate oscillations (0.01 to 0.1 Hz) immediately after 5 of 11 seizures recorded in 5 patients. This finding may be a marker of neuroautonomic instability and, therefore, may have implications for understanding perturbations of heart rate control associated with partial seizures.


  • Early report of increased low-frequency variability of heart rate after seizure, with low frequency defined as 0.01 to 0.1 Hz . Study includes data from 11 seizures in 5 patients. Some figures show a rise in heart rate both during and shortly after the seizure. The 0.1 Hz oscillation appears to be essentially a jump in the heart rate occurring every 10 s or so and lasting a few beats. This instability persisted for variable periods following the end of the seizure. Note that a 4th degree polynomial was used to detrend the data before power spectra were computed and it is not clear how this polynomial was chosen or what effect it had on the results.