J Clin Neurol.  2012 Dec;8(4):243-250. 10.3988/jcn.2012.8.4.243.

Seizure Semiology: Its Value and Limitations in Localizing the Epileptogenic Zone

Affiliations
  • 1Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA. Krikor.Tufenkjian@Lahey.org

Abstract

Epilepsy surgery has become an important treatment option in patients with medically refractory epilepsy. The ability to precisely localize the epileptogenic zone is crucial for surgical success. The tools available for localization of the epileptogenic zone are limited. Seizure semiology is a simple and cost effective tool that allows localization of the symptomatogenic zone which either overlaps or is in close proximity of the epileptogenic zone. This becomes particularly important in cases of MRI negative focal epilepsy. The ability to video record seizures made it possible to discover new localizing signs and quantify the sensitivity and specificity of others. Ideally the signs used for localization should fulfill these criteria; 1) Easy to identify and have a high inter-rater reliability, 2) It has to be the first or one of the earlier components of the seizure in order to have localizing value. Later symptoms or signs are more likely to be due to ictal spread and may have only a lateralizing value. 3) The symptomatogenic zone corresponding to the recorded ictal symptom has to be clearly defined and well documented. Reproducibility of the initial ictal symptoms with cortical stimulation identifies the corresponding symptomatogenic zone. Unfortunately, however, not all ictal symptoms can be reproduced by focal cortical stimulation. Therefore, the problem the clinician faces is trying to deduce the epileptogenic zone from the seizure semiology. The semiological classification system is particularly useful in this regard. We present the known localizing and lateralizing signs based on this system.

Keyword

semiology; localization; epilepsy surgery
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