This study aimed to evaluate vestibular function in adults with chronic epilepsy of unknown etiology in the inter-ictal period.Background:
Epilepsy is a chronic medical disorder. Life-long therapy may be required in one-third of patients. Epilepsy is associated with comorbid somatic conditions which impairs patients’ quality of life.Methods:
This cross-sectional study included 28 with generalized tonic clonic (GTC) convulsions and 14 and 3 with temporal (TLE) and frontal lobe (FLE) epilepsies with secondary generalization (all were on regular carbamazepine therapy) and 40 healthy control subjects. The patients’ mean age was 34.97 ± 7.35 years and the duration of illness was 18.75 ± 7.99 years. All underwent videonystagmography (VNG).Results:
Compared with controls, patients had frequent vestibular symptoms including dizziness (62.22%) (p = 0.0001) and sense of imbalance (44.44%) (p = 0.0001). Eleven patients (24.44%) had central vestibular dysfunction (p = 0.0001); 9 (20%) had mixed vestibular dysfunction and one (2.22%) had peripheral vestibular dysfunction (p = 0.0001). Abnormalities were observed in saccadic (44.4%) and pursuit (42.2%) eye movements, optokinetic nystagmus (42.2%) and positioning/positional (11.11%) and caloric (13.33%) testing. TLE and FLE were associated with more VNG abnormalities than GTC. No significant differences were observed in the demographic and clinical characteristics between patients with and without VNG abnormalities.Conclusion:
Vestibular manifestations are frequent in patients with epilepsy. This may be a result of the permanent damaging effect of chronic epilepsy on the vestibular cortical areas and/or a toxic effect from prolonged carbamazepine therapy on the peripheral and central vestibular systems.