Abnormal heart rate variability during non-REM sleep and postictal generalized EEG suppression in focal epilepsy

Mika Sakamoto, Kazutaka Jin, Yu Kitazawa, Yosuke Kakisaka, Nobukazu Nakasato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To identify any relationship between abnormal interictal heart rate variability (HRV) during sleep and the occurrence of postictal generalized EEG suppression (PGES), a potential biomarker of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), in patients with focal epilepsy. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 34 consecutive patients with focal epilepsy, who presented with focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures (FBTCSs), 19 with PGES (PGES+) and 15 without PGES (PGES−), and 14 patients without epilepsy as controls. HRV spectrum analysis was performed for periods of 10 minutes during wakefulness, non-REM sleep, and REM sleep. HRV spectra consisted of high frequency (HF) and low frequency (LF) regions. Normalized HF representing parasympathetic activities and normalized LF were compared between the PGES+, PGES−, and control groups for each sleep stage. Results: The PGES+ group showed significantly decreased normalized HF and increased normalized LF during non-REM sleep compared to the PGES− (P < 0.05) and control (P < 0.01) groups, but not during wakefulness or REM sleep. Conclusions: Abnormal interictal HRV during non-REM sleep, indicating abnormally decreased parasympathetic activities, was associated with PGES in patients with FBTCS. Significance: This study proposes to further investigate the relation between decreased parasympathetic activities and PGES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug


  • Focal epilepsy
  • Heart rate variability
  • Non-REM sleep
  • Postictal generalized EEG suppression
  • Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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