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Epilepsia. 2009 Apr;50(4):928-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01918.x. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

Late-onset periodic asystolia during vagus nerve stimulation.

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Epilepsy Section, Clinica Universitaria, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


Cardiac changes may occasionally occur during vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) used in epileptic patients. As they can be potentially life-threatening, it is important to detect them, and this is why an intraoperative test is performed during the implantation. Few cases of asystole during this test have been described. Only one patient with late-onset bradyarrythmia caused by VNS has been reported. This patient had been implanted 2 years and 4 months before the episode. We present another case of late asystole in a patient whose VNS had been implanted 9 years before the arrhythmia onset. In our patient, each run of stimulation produced bradyarrhythmias and very often severe asystolia due to atrium-ventricular block.

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