Autonomic effects of refractory epilepsy on heart rate variability in children: influence of intermittent vagus nerve stimulation.
SourceDepartment of Pediatric Neurology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Department of Electrical Engineering, ESAT KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Epilepsy Center, Pulderbos, Belgium. Holst Center/IMEC, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
AbstractAim Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a therapeutic option for individuals with refractory epilepsy. Individuals with refractory epilepsy are prone to dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Reduced heart rate variability is a marker of dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Our goal was to study heart rate variability in children with refractory epilepsy and the influence of VNS on this parameter. Methods In 17 children (13 male; four female; mean age 7y 6mo; age range 3-16y) with refractory epilepsy, electroencephalographic and electrocardiographic data were obtained before and after implantation of VNS during stage 2 and slow-wave sleep. Time and frequency domain parameters were calculated and the results were compared with an age- and sex-matched group of individuals without refractory epilepsy. Results Our results show that autonomic cardiac control is affected in individuals with refractory epilepsy. There is a striking reduction in vagal tone during slow-wave sleep and modulation capacity is smaller than in individuals without refractory epilepsy. Implantation of VNS induces a shift in sympathovagal balance towards sympathetic predominance and an improvement in autonomic modulation. Interpretation Heart rate variability is affected in children with refractory epilepsy, and changes after implantation of VNS. The observed changes could be of importance in the cardiac complications of individuals with epilepsy and should be explored in more detail.
© The Authors. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology © 2011 Mac Keith Press.
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