Applicability of the new ILAE classification for epilepsies (2010) in persons with epilepsy at a tertiary care center in India

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To test the applicability of the new International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) 2010 classification for epilepsies and to compare it with the ILAE 1989 classification and the ILAE 2001 diagnostic scheme in developing countries with limited resources such as India.


Prospective data of 500 consecutive patients with epilepsy, presenting in neurology department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, was collected from January 2011 to June 2012 and analyzed according to the three systems proposed by ILAE in 1989, 2001, and 2010.

Key Findings

All 500 patients could be classified in the ILAE 1989 classification system, but only 413 in the ILAE 2001 diagnostic scheme (in axes 3 and 4) and 420 in the ILAE 2010 classification system. Leading categories were localization-related epilepsies, symptomatic focal epilepsies, perinatal insult, and epilepsies attributed to structural and metabolic cause in ILAE 1989, 2001 axis 3, 2001 axis 4, and 2010 systems, respectively. The ILAE 1989 classification system could categorize significantly greater numbers of patients compared to the 2001 and 2010 systems, whereas the latter two remained similar.


A large group of patients remained unclassified in the new classification system despite our tremendous gain in knowledge through improved imaging, genomics, and molecular biology, and so on, which could be attributed to lack of availability of facilities in developing countries. Dichotomy of localization-related and generalized epilepsy still makes for a fundamental and pragmatic working diagnosis and guides the physician about the extent of investigations and treatment especially in “epilepsies of unknown cause.”

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