Heart Rate Variability’s Role in Potential SUDEP-Predicting Modalities: Orrin Devinsky, MD


The director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone provided insight on whether a newly discovered biomarker can play a role in the creation of modalities to detect SUDEP risk. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"We don’t have clinical trial data to prove that they [seizure-detecting devices] will reduce the risk of SUDEP, but we believe they will. It makes perfect sense. We know that a big risk factor for SUDEP is having a nighttime seizure and not being supervised.”

For years, the epilepsy community has tirelessly attempted to understand the origins of sudden expected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and the underlying triggers that may lead up to the event. It has been hypothesized that certain forms of refractory epilepsy may be at more risk, however, there is no concrete evidence to back these thoughts. While there are no FDA-approved medications to prevent SUDEP, researchers have tried to identify candidates who might be at high-risk using biomarkers, although there has been little ground gained until now.

Findings from a recently published retrospective, nested case-control study found an association between short-term heart rate variability and SUDEP. Senior author Orrin Devinsky, MD, has been a leader within the research community and feels as though these results carry significant weight.

Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone, sat down to discuss whether these results have any implications on future seizure-detecting devices. He also provided insight on what other studies have observed and the staggering rate of SUDEP cases that are in isolated settings.

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