Mameli, Piero and Becciu, Chiara Ombretta and Tolu, Eusebio and Padua, G. and Giraudi, Domenico Alessandro Fran and Caria, Marcello Alessandro and Melis, Francesco (1988) Neurogenic myocardial arrhythmias in experimental focal epilepsy. Epilepsia, Vol. 29 (1), p. 74-82. eISSN 1528-1167. Article.
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The potential for cardiac arrhythmia was studied in an experimental focal epilepsy induced in hemispherectomized rats by topical application of buffered penicillin G onto the thalamus. The epileptic burst triggered cardiac and hemodynamic responses, as simultaneously monitored by arterial pressure, and hypothalamic and heart activity. During interictal epileptic activity, the single burst triggered a short-latency cardiac arrhythmia, characterized by sinus bradyarrhythmia and junctional rhythm, and lengthening of intervals between sphygmic waves with significant reduction of diastolic pressure. When the epileptic burst stopped, the cardiac activity resumed normal rhythm, and diastolic pressure returned to basal value. During ictal epileptic activity, the sinus and junctional bradyarrhythmic episodes lasted longer, and supraventricular extrasystoles, sinus arrest, and bigeminal ventricular extrasystoles were observed. Both systolic and diastolic pressures decreased from 120/85 to 100/65 mm Hg. The end of the ictal episode always marked resumption of normal cardiac rhythm and systemic pressure. Considering the absence of metabolic complications (blood-gas analytic parameters and acid-base balance being controlled) and the short latency of the cardiac and hemodynamic responses, it is suggested that during paroxysmal hypothalamic activity the observed cardiac arrhythmias and the hemodynamic modifications were neurogenic in origin. A role for cardiovascular alterations in sudden unexplained epileptic death is postulated.
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