Researchers find cardiac pacing helps epilepsy patients with ictal asystole

Mar 23, 2011

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that cardiac pacing may help epilepsy patients with seizure-related falls due to ictal asystole, an unusual condition in which the heart stops beating during an epileptic seizure. The study was recently published in the journal Epilepsia.

"During seizures, a patient's heart rate most often increases significantly, but in about 1 percent of this population, a seizure will lead to the heart stopping for a brief period of time," says Jeffrey W. Britton, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and member of the research team. "The heart almost always restarts on its own, but sometimes as much as 20 to 30 seconds can pass where no blood flows to the brain and causes the patient to collapse and fall during a seizure."

The brief period when the stops can lead to significant injury. "In this study, we wanted to determine if, in addition to medication, there would be any benefit to reducing falls by implanting a pacemaker," says researcher Brian D. Moseley, M.D., a Mayo Clinic resident and neurology instructor..

Researchers identified seven patients who were diagnosed with ictal asystole and had a history of falls associated with it before undergoing cardiac pacing at Mayo Clinic between 1990 and 2004.

Patients with the condition were identified through observation of their during computer-assisted continuous video electroencephalography/electrocardiography (/).

Researchers found the rate of injury and falls declined after the patients received their implants. "Before implantation, the average fall rate was more than three falls per month; following implantation, this was reduced to 0.005 falls per month," Dr. Britton says.

In addition, three of the seven patients needed less seizure medication after receiving their implants. "This may argue that in addition to helping reduce falls there may be some anti-seizure properties associated with pacemaker implantation. That's an exciting finding that needs to be studied some more," says Dr. Moseley.

Explore further: Infant cooing, babbling linked to hearing ability

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Infant cooing, babbling linked to hearing ability

1 hour ago

Infants' vocalizations throughout the first year follow a set of predictable steps from crying and cooing to forming syllables and first words. However, previous research had not addressed how the amount ...

Developing 'tissue chip' to screen neurological toxins

2 hours ago

A multidisciplinary team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research is creating a faster, more affordable way to screen for neural toxins, helping flag chemicals that ...

Gene mutation discovered in blood disorder

6 hours ago

An international team of scientists has identified a gene mutation that causes aplastic anemia, a serious blood disorder in which the bone marrow fails to produce normal amounts of blood cells. Studying a family in which ...

Airway muscle-on-a-chip mimics asthma

8 hours ago

The majority of drugs used to treat asthma today are the same ones that were used 50 years ago. New drugs are urgently needed to treat this chronic respiratory disease, which causes nearly 25 million people ...

User comments : 0