Experimental evidence in animals shows that respiratory arrest can occur on electrical or mechanical stimulation of the posterior lateral frontal cortex, the anterior part of the hippocampal gyrus, the anterior insula, the ventral and mesial planes of the temporal lobe, the anterior cingulate gyrus, the uncus, or the fornix.133,134 Spontaneous ictal events originating from limbic regions may also cause apneic episodes.135

The cortical motor control of the diaphragmatic contraction can also be a part of an epileptic focus (as can any other cortical region), and therefore seizures may potentially interfere with normal diaphragmatic function and respiration.136

Adapted from: Sepkuty JP and Kaplan PW. Hematologic and pulmonary disorders. In: Ettinger AB and Devinsky O, eds. Managing epilepsy and co-existing disorders. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2002;209–228.
With permission from Elsevier (www.elsevier.com). 

Authored By: 
JP Sepkuty
PW Kaplan
Steven C. Schachter, MD
Authored Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Steven C. Schachter, MD
Wednesday, March 31, 2004