Interictal Heart Rate Variability Analysis Reveals Lateralization of Cardiac Autonomic Control in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Vincenzo Di Stefano, Catello Vollono, Francesca Anzellotti, Valerio Frazzini, Fedele Dono, Vincenzo Di Stefano, Camilla Ferrante, Luciano P. Marchionno, Claudia Carrarini, Mirella Russo, Giacomo Evangelista, Massimiliano Faustino, Laura Bonanni, Stefano L. Sensi, Marco Onofrj, Maria V. De Angelis

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review


Purpose: The temporal lobe, a critical hub for cognition, also plays a central role in the regulation of autonomic cardiovascular functions. Lesions in this area are usually associated with abnormalities in the regulation of heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP). The analysis of the heart rate variability (HRV) is useful to evaluate the cardiac parasympathetic nervous system activity. This study aims at comparing HRV changes occurring in two groups of patients suffering from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). To that aim, we evaluated patients differentiated by the right or left location of the epileptic foci. Materials and Methods: Fifty-two adult patients with a diagnosis of TLE were enrolled. Each patient underwent a 20-min EEG + EKG recording in resting state. According to the localization of epileptic focus, patients were divided into two subgroups: right TLE (R-TLE) and left TLE (L-TLE). HRV parameters were calculated with a short-lasting analysis of EKG recordings. Time-domain and frequency domain-related, as well as non-linear analysis, parameters, were compared between the two groups. Results: Compared to the R-TLE group, L-TLE subjects showed a significant decrease in low frequency (LF) (p < 0.01) and low frequency/high-frequency ratio (LF/HF) (p < 0.001) as well as increased HF values (p < 0.01), a parameter indicative of the presence of an increased cardiac vagal tone. These results were also confirmed in the subgroup analysis that took into account the seizure types, responses to antiepileptic drugs, seizure frequencies, and etiology. Conclusions: The main finding of the study is that, compared to R-TLE, L-TLE is associated with increased cardiac vagal tone. These results indicate that patients with TLE exhibit a lateralized cardiac autonomic control. L-TLE patients may have a lower risk of developing cardiac dysfunctions and less susceptible to develop Sudden Death for Epilepsy (SUDEP).
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine12
RivistaFrontiers in Neurology
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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