Value and Limitations of Seizure Semiology in Localizing Seizure Onset

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Abstract

Summary:

Seizure semiology has been the foundation of clinical diagnosis of seizure disorders. This article discusses the value and the limitations of behavioral features of seizure episodes in localizing seizure onset. Studies have shown that some semiologic features of seizures are highly accurate in the hemispheric lateralization and lobar localization of seizures. There is good agreement between blinded reviewers in lateralizing video-recorded seizures in temporal lobe and extratemporal lobe epilepsies. However, seizure semiology alone should not be used to determine the site of seizure onset. Each semiologic feature may falsely localize seizure onset. Seizure semiology in some patients may signify the site of seizure propagation rather than origination. Moreover, seizure semiology may not be as reliable in multifocal epilepsies as it is in unifocal epilepsies. Many semiologic features of seizures of adults are often missing in seizures of children. Seizure semiology should be analyzed and integrated with EEG and neuroimaging data to localize the seizure focus. A sample of the recorded seizures should be shown to the patient's relatives or friends to verify that it is representative of habitual seizures.

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