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Epilepsy Behav. 2013 Dec;29(3):537-41. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.09.026. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Comparison of cardiorespiratory and EEG abnormalities with seizures in adults and children.

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Division of Epilepsy, Neurophysiology, and Sleep, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Cardiopulmonary dysfunction and postictal generalized EEG suppression (PGES) are proposed as possible risk factors for the occurrence of SUDEP. The evolution of cardiorespiratory abnormalities with seizures has not been systematically studied for any age-related findings. Additionally, not many studies have looked into the possible effect of age-related brain maturation on PGES. The purpose of this study was to compare these SUDEP risk factors in adults versus children. We prospectively recorded cardiopulmonary abnormalities during seizures using pulse oximetry, EKG, and respiratory inductance plethysmography. Linear and logistic regression models adjusting for multiple seizures in a single patient were used to compare the cardiorespiratory and EEG findings between adults and children. We recorded 101 seizures in 26 children and 55 seizures in 22 adults. Ictal central apnea and bradycardia occurred more often in children than in adults (p=0.02 and p=0.008, respectively), while ictal tachycardia occurred more often in adults (p=0.001) than in children. Postictal generalized EEG suppression of longer duration occurred more often in adults (p=0.003) than in children. Minimum O2 saturation and seizure duration/generalization/lateralization did not significantly differ between adults and children (p>0.1). Children had more frontal lobe seizures, and adults had more temporal lobe seizures recorded (p=0.01). There may be an age-related effect on cardiorespiratory and EEG abnormalities associated with seizures, with higher rates of apnea and bradycardia in children and a much higher prevalence of PGES of longer duration in adults. This may indicate why, despite lower rates of cardiopulmonary dysfunction, adults die more frequently from SUDEP than children.


Cardiorespiratory abnormalities; EEG; Epilepsy monitoring; Postictal generalized EEG suppression; SUDEP

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