The role of temporal lobe epilepsy in cardiac structure and function

(1) Jericho High School, Jericho, New York

Cardiac autonomic and structural changes may occur in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients and may contribute to the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy patients (SUDEP). The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate whether the presence of TLE and lifetime seizure activity in TLE patients correlates with changes in left ventricle (LV) dimensions, ejection fraction (EF), and LV mass. We reviewed clinical charts to obtain patients’ demographics, lifetime seizure count, antiepileptic drug (AED) use, and history of heart disease. A transthoracic echocardiogram machine was used to calculate LV dimensions, EF, and LV mass. By comparing TLE patients to control subjects, we found that TLE patients had thinner LV walls, smaller EF, and no significant difference in LV mass. Analysis of TLE patients with high or low number of lifetime seizures suggested that the two groups had no significant differences in LV wall thickness, EF, or LV mass. TLE does correlate with changes in the LV and EF, but the number of lifetime seizures does not. Future investigations should address the effects of different combinations of AEDs used by patients in this study on epileptic rats’ LV wall thickness and EF. Applications of this work include early diagnosis of TLE through the use of echocardiography data and reducing risk of patients dying of SUDEP.

Download Full Article as PDF