Temporal lobe epilepsy: effect of focus side on the autonomic regulation of heart rate?

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Saleh Y, Kirchner A, Pauli E, Hilz MJ, Neundörfer B, and Stefan H (2000) Temporal lobe epilepsy: effect of focus side on the autonomic regulation of heart rate?. Nervenarzt 71:6 477–80.

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Abstract: Epileptic activity can modulate reactions of the autonomic nervous system. Although there is some evidence of a differential left/right hemispheric influence on the cardiovascular system, diverse investigations have shown controversial results. In our study, complex partial seizures of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy were recorded using subdural electrodes, thus providing reliable information on the focus side. We analyzed the preictal and ictal heart rates of 27 patients, 16 revealing right and 11 revealing left temporal foci. During the seizures, both groups showed a significant increase in heart rate. Preictal tachycardia was only significant in the right focus group, whereas no significant change in heart rates could be detected in the left focus group. Our results confirm a right hemispheric lateralization of sympathetic cardiac control.



  • Subdural EEG study of complex partial seizures to investigate laterality of seizures accompanied by autonomic alterations. Among 16 patients with right and 11 patients with left temporal foci, both groups had a significant increase in HR during seizures. Preictal tachycardia was seen only in the right focus group. The authors interpret this to mean that the right temporal lobe is more involved in autonomic control.


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