Bradycardia and syncope as manifestations of partial epilepsy

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1990 Mar 15;15(4):900-5. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(90)90290-6.


Although transient increases in heart rate typically occur, bradycardia has infrequently been noted in association with partial seizures. Five patients with temporal lobe epilepsy are described in whom sinus bradyarrhythmias and syncope were prominent manifestations of seizure activity. Partial improvement occurred in one of two patients in whom a permanent pacemaker was implanted before a diagnosis of epilepsy was established. Treatment with phenytoin or carbamazepine resulted in nearly complete resolution of symptoms in all five patients. Because pacemaker implantation does not prevent recurrent symptoms, but anticonvulsant therapy does, this experience underscores the importance of considering the diagnosis of partial epilepsy in selected patients with sinus bradyarrhythmias and syncope.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bradycardia / etiology*
  • Bradycardia / therapy
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / complications*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pacemaker, Artificial
  • Phenytoin / therapeutic use
  • Syncope / etiology*


  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenytoin