People with epilepsy might benefit from the implantation of cardiac pacemakers, finds a new study. Researchers arrived at the conclusion after studying 20 patients with the disease. The results showed a significant occurrence of interrupted heart rhythm during seizures among the group. Interrupted heart rhythms during seizures might be responsible for the higher rate of unexplained death seen in epilepsy patients. Treating the condition with a pacemaker could avert many of these deaths say researchers.
All of the patients in the study received an implantable device to monitor their heart rhythms. Researchers followed the group for about two years. Over that time, the patients experienced a total of 377 seizures. Among 16 patients, heart rate during seizures regularly exceeded 100 beats per minute. Among four patients, serious cardiac inactivity was noted during seizures. These patients received permanent pacemakers to ensure their hearts would be restarted when inactivity occurred during a seizure.
Thus researchers believe that cardiac pacemakers may be indicated for many people with epilepsy ,however they say that additional studies should be done before their findings are applied to the routine care of people with epilepsy.