Heartbeat evoked potentials during sleep and daytime behavior in children with sleep-disordered breathing

Sarah A. Immanuel, Yvonne Pamula, Mark J. Kohler, James A. Martin, Declan John Kennedy, Eugene Nalivaiko, David A. Saint, Mathias Baumert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Event-related brain potentials allow probing of cortical information processing, but when evoked with externally induced stimuli may disrupt sleep homeostasis and do not provide insight into intrinsic cortical information processing. To investigate if cortical processing of intrinsic information in children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is different from healthy children and, if so, whether it resolves with treatment, we used heartbeat as a source of interoceptive event-related brain potentials. Objectives: To investigate heartbeat evoked potentials (HEP) during sleep in healthy children and in children with SDB before and after treatment and to explore if there are any associations between HEP and daytime behavioral deficits in children with SDB. Methods: Heartbeat-aligned EEG was assessed for presence of HEP within stage 2, slow-wave sleep, and REM sleep in 40 children with primarily mild to moderate SDB before and after adenotonsillectomy and in 40 matched control subjects at similar time points. Measurements and Main Results: In both groups, nonrandom HEP were present in all sleep stages analyzed; however, amplitude of HEP were significantly lower in children with SDB during non-REM sleep (stage 2: P = 0.03; slow-wave sleep: P = 0.001). This between-group difference was not significant post adenotonsillectomy. Significant negative associations between HEP and daytime behavioral scores were observed at baseline. Conclusions: Children with SDB displayed reduced HEP amplitude during sleep, which might be indicative of changes in afferent sensory inputs to the brain and/or signify differences in sensory gating of cardiac-related information in the insular cortex. Adenotonsillectomy appears to reverse this effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1157
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2014


  • Adenotonsillectomy
  • Behavior
  • Cardiac cycle
  • Children
  • Heartbeat evoked potential


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