📌Ictal bradycardia/asystole is a poorly recognised cause of collapse late in the course of a typical complex partial seizure
📌It is important to identify ictal bradycardia as a potential harbinger of lethal rhythms, such as asystole, as this may be one important mechanism leading to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP)
📌Tachycardia is the most common rhythm abnormality occurring in 64–100% of temporal lobe seizures. Ictal bradycardia has been reported in less than 6% of patients with complex partial seizures
📌The ictal bradycardia syndrome occurs in mostly in patients with temporal lobe seizures.
📌It is believed that abnormal neuronal activity during a seizure can affect central autonomic regulatory centres in the brain leading to cardiac rhythm changes.
📌Ictal bradycardia/asystole may be unrecognised until documented during video-electroencephalograph (video EEG)–electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring in those with refractory epilepsy, often in the context of pre-surgical evaluation
📌Other rhythm abnormalities which can occur are change in heart rate variability, ictal tachycardias and atrioventricular (AV) block
📌If sufficiently severe, the ictal-induced bradyarrhythmia temporarily impairs both cerebral perfusion and cortical function; the result has the dual effect of terminating the seizure, while at the same time triggering syncope with consequent loss of consciousness and postural tone. In essence, a complex partial seizure patient may manifest both seizure and syncope features during the same episode.
📌There are currently no guidelines on who should undergo further cardiovascular investigations ; dual chamber pacemaker implantation has been suggested as a treatment in the long term, for epilepsy patients who manifest this syndrome and suffer repeated falls; but there is not much mention in literature both about diagnosis and about pharmacological and non pharmacological interventions to counter such episodes when presenting as an emergency situation in the perioperative scenario , especially when the patient is under anesthesia.
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Reference: Ictal bradycardia and atrioventricular block: a cardiac manifestation of epilepsy; Salman S. Allana Hanna N. Ahmed Keval Shah Annie F. Kelly, Oxford Medical Case Reports, British Journal of Cardiology : Ictal Bradycardia and Asystole Associated with Intractable Epilepsy: A Case Series Elijah Chaila, Jaspreet Bhangu, Sandya Tirupathi, Norman Delanty; Ictal Asystole-Life-Threatening Vagal Storm or a Benign Seizure Self-Termination Mechanism? David G. Benditt, Gert van Dijk, Roland D. Thijs (Editorial:Circulation )