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The Relationship Between Heart Rate Variability and Epileptiform Activity Among Children—A Controlled Study

Assaf, Nurit*; Weller, Boaz†‡; Deutsh-Castel, Tsofia*; Cohen, Ayala§; Tirosh, Emanuel*‡

Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: October 2008 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - p 317-320
doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e318182ed2d
Original Article

Summary: Autonomic symptoms frequently occur during epileptic seizures. Attention has been mainly devoted to cardiovascular changes. We studied the relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) and epileptiform activity in children with epilepsy.

Simultaneous electroencephalograms and electrocardiograms were recorded in 36 children diagnosed with epilepsy and in 36 children with unrelated conditions who served as a comparison group. Heart rate variability was evaluated by time-domain analysis, before, after, and during an epileptiform event, a benign abnormal event and baseline activity.

An age-related change in the HRV associated with an epileptiform event was noted in the study group but not in the comparison group. No other significant differences in HRV were noted between the two groups or between true and benign abnormal events.

Age seems to be a significant covariate in the analysis of HRV in children with epilepsy. Epileptiform activity is not associated with a significant change in HRV in children.

From *The Hannah Khoushy Child Development Center and †Department of Neurology, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel; ‡Faculty of Medicine and §Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nurit Assaf, M.D., The Hannah Khoushy Child Development Center, Haifa 31048s, Israel; e-mail:

Copyright © 2008 American Clinical Neurophysiology Society