Time, frequency and information domain analysis of short-term heart rate variability before and after focal and generalized seizures in epileptic children

Luca Faes, Salvatore Stivala, Alessandro Busacca, Riccardo Pernice, Anton Popov, Volodymyr Kharytonov, Ivan Kotiuchyi

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

8 Citazioni (Scopus)


In this work we explore the potential of combining standard time and frequency domain indexes with novel information measures, to characterize pre- and post-ictal heart rate variability (HRV) in epileptic children, with the aim of differentiating focal and generalized epilepsy regarding the autonomic control mechanisms. Approach: We analyze short-term HRV in 37 children suffering from generalized or focal epilepsy, monitored 10s, 300s, 600s and 1800s both before and after seizure episodes. Nine indexes are computed in time (mean, standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals, root mean square of the successive differences(RMSSD)), frequency (low-to-high frequency power ratio LF/HF, normalized LF and HF power) and information (entropy, conditional entropy and self-entropy) domains. Focal and generalized epilepsy are compared through statistical analysis of the indexes and using linear discriminant analysis (LDA). Main results: In children with focal epilepsy, early post-ictal phase is characterized by significant tachycardia, depressed HRV, increased LF power and LF/HF, and decreased complexity, progressively recovered across time windows after the episodes. Children with generalized seizures instead show significant tachycardia, lower RMSSD, higher LF power and LF/HF ratio before the seizure. These different behaviors are exploited by LDA analysis to separate focal and generalized epilepsy up to an accuracy of 75%. Results suggest a shift of the sympatho-vagal balance towards sympathetic dominance and vagal withdrawal, noticeable just after the termination of seizure episodes and then reverted in focal epilepsy, and persistent during interictal and preictal periods in generalized epilepsy. Significance:Our analysis helps in elucidating the pathophysiology of interictal HRV autonomic control and the differential diagnosis of generalized and focal epilepsy. These findings may have clinical relevance since altered sympathovagal control can be related to a higher danger of morbidity and mortality, may reduce thresholds for life-threatening arrhythmias, and could be a biomarker of risk for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine12
RivistaPhysiological Measurement
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1300.1314???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2200.2204???
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