The brain-heart connection: Implications for understanding sudden unexpected death in epilepsy

The brain-heart connection: Implications for understanding sudden unexpected death in epilepsy

Author Scorza, Fulvio Alexandre Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Arida, Ricardo Mario Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Cysneiros, Roberta Monterazzo Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Terra, Vera C. Google Scholar
Sonoda, Eliza Yumi de Freitas Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Albuquerque, Marly de Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Cavalheiro, Esper Abrão Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Institution Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Univ Presbiteriana Mackenzie
Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Abstract Epilepsy is one of the commonest neurological problems worldwide. Approximately 3% of the general population will suffer from epilepsy at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, individuals with epilepsy are at a higher risk of death than the general population, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the most important direct epilepsy-related cause of death. Information concerning risk factors for SUDEP is conflicting, but potential risk factors include young age, early onset of epilepsy, duration of epilepsy, uncontrolled seizures, seizure frequency, antiepileptic drug number and winter temperatures. Although the cause of SUDEP is still unknown, its most commonly suggested mechanisms are cardiac abnormalities during and between seizures. As the anatomical substrate of epileptic activity in the central nervous system shows a direct relation to cardiovascular alterations, this may suggest that patients with epilepsy associated with focal central nervous system lesions may face a particular risk of SUDEP. Currently, experimental and clinical data supports the importance of specific brain structures in the behavioural manifestation, the initiation and the propagation of seizures. Regarding the above findings, our research group focused on this review article that S UDEP could be related to the occurrence of specific brain structure dysfunction or anatomical change, at least in some cases. (Cardiol J 2009; 16, 5: 394-399)
Keywords epilepsy
sudden cardiac death
central nervous system
Language English
Date 2009-09-01
Published in Cardiology Journal. Gdansk: Via Medica, v. 16, n. 5, p. 394-399, 2009.
ISSN 1897-5593 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Via Medica
Extent 394-399
Access rights Open access Open Access
Type Review
Web of Science ID WOS:000271300600002

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