Cardiac Structure and Function in Epilepsy Patients with Drug-Resistant Convulsive Seizures
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCase Reports in Neurology. 2022, 14, 88-97. 10.1159/000522237
High frequency of convulsive seizures and long-lasting epilepsy are associated with an increased risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Structural changes in the myocardium have been described in SUDEP victims. It is speculated that these changes are secondary to frequent convulsive seizures and may predispose to SUDEP. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the impact of chronic drug-resistant epilepsy on cardiac function and structure in patients with a high frequency of convulsive seizures. We consecutively included 21 patients (17 women, 4 men) aged 18–40 years, with at least 10 years with epilepsy and a minimum of six convulsive seizures in the last year and without a history of status epilepticus or nonepileptic events. A complete clinical examination, resting 12-lead electrocardiogram, 72-h Holter monitoring, and echocardiography were recorded in all patients. Ten patients were assessed by 3-Tesla cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Echocardiography and MRI data were compared with those from age- and sex-matched healthy control individuals. No significant changes in cardiac structure or function were found among patients with chronic drug-resistant epilepsy and high frequency of convulsive seizures. However, we cannot exclude that there are subgroups of patients who are more prone to epilepsy-associated cardiac alterations.