Electrocardiographic Abnormalities and Mortality in Epilepsy Patients

Normunds Suna (Coresponding Author), Inga Suna, Evija Gutmane, Linda Kande, Guntis Karelis, Ludmila Viksna, Valdis Folkmanis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Background and Objectives: People with epilepsy (PWE) have a 2-3 times higher mortality rate than the general population. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) comprises a significant proportion of premature deaths, whereas sudden cardiac death (SCD) is among the leading causes of sudden death in the general population. Cardiac pathologies are significantly more prevalent in PWE. Whether electrocardiographic (ECG) parameters are associated with remote death in PWE has yet to be elucidated. The study objective was to assess whether interictal ECG parameters are associated with mortality in the long-term. Materials and Methods: The study involved 471 epilepsy patients who were hospitalized after a bilateral tonic-clonic seizure(s). ECG parameters were obtained on the day of hospitalization (heart rate, PQ interval, QRS complex, QT interval, heart rate corrected QT interval (QTc), ST segment and T wave changes), as well as reported ECG abnormalities. Mortality data were obtained from the Latvian National Cause-of-Death database 3-11, mean 7.0 years after hospitalization. The association between the ECG parameters and the long-term clinical outcome were examined. Results: At the time of assessment, 75.4% of patients were alive and 24.6% were deceased. Short QTc interval (odds ratio (OR) 4.780; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.668-13.698; p = 0.004) was associated with a remote death. After the exclusion of known comorbidities with high mortality rates, short QTc (OR 4.631) and ECG signs of left ventricular hypertrophy (OR 5.009) were associated with a remote death. Conclusions: The association between routine 12-lead rest ECG parameters-short QTc interval and a pattern of left ventricular hypertrophy-and remote death in epilepsy patients was found. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to associate rest ECG parameters with remote death in an epileptic population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number504
JournalMedicina (Kaunas, Lithuania)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2021


  • sudden cardiac death risk markers
  • epilepsy
  • short QT
  • electrocardiographic parameters
  • left ventricular hypertrophy
  • death in epilepsy

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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