By the end of this lecture you should be able to
Definition of epileptic seizure, provoked seizure and epilepsy.
Frequent causes of seizure and risk factors.
Trigers of seizures in epileptic patient.
Epilepsy classification and seizure semiology.
DDX of SZ
Seizure vs syncope
Approach to seizure disorder ( Hx, Ex, inx)
Medical and surgical management of epilepsy.
How to select antiepileptic medications.
When to stop antiepileptic medications.
• A seizure is a paroxysmal event due to abnormally discharging central nervous
system (CNS) neurons
• Epilepsy is defined as a condition of recurrent seizures due to a chronic underlying
process (Epilepsy is the tendency to have unprovoked seizures)
Epilepsy: recurrent (two or more) unprovoked seizures.
Seizure is a symptom of epilepsy.
4. STATUS EPILEPTICUS
• Convulsive Status epilepticus (CSE): generalized tonic-clonic seizure lasting more
than 5 minutes, or two within 5 minutes without return to baseline in between.
• (SE): is a serious, potentially life-threatening.
• Any type of seizure can lead to SE, the most serious form of status epilepticus is the
generalized tonic-clonic type.
5. EPIDEMIOLOGY AND COURSE
5% of the population suffer a single sz at some
0.5-1% of the population have recurrent sz =
70% = well controlled with drugs (prolonged
30% epilepsy at least resistant to drug
treatments = INTRACTABL EPILEPSY.
7. RISK FACTORS FOR EPILEPSY
• Febrile convulsion
• Perinatal insult
• CNS infection
• CNS mass lesion
• Family history of epilepsy
• Head injury
• Abnormal gestation or delivery
• Developmental delay
• Stroke (ischemic or
• Hx of brain surgery
8. TRIGGER FACTORS
• Sleep deprivation
• Missed doses of antiepileptic drugs in treated patients (Poor compliance)
• Alcohol (particularly withdrawal)
• Recreational drug misuse
• Physical and mental exhaustion (stress)
• Flickering lights, including TV and computer screens
(generalised epilepsy syndromes only)
• Intercurrent infections and metabolic disturbances
• Uncommon: loud noises, music, reading, hot baths
• Menstrual cycle
17. PSYCHOGENIC NONEPILEPTIC SPELLS:
sterotyped yes no
eyelid open Closed (may resist opening)
color ~cyanosis May turn red
vocalization Ictal cry Varies …
Muscle tone Start with stiffening (tonic) Limp, resist movement, or
Motor pattern High frequency & gradually
May speed up or vary
Duration Ends within 5min Prolonged more than 5min
Consciousness Impaired/lost May be retained
Postictal state Confused, lethargic/stertor
Relatively normal/ normal or
rapid panting breath
18. SEIZURE APPROCH
• Non invasive tests
• Clinical history
• video EEG
• neuropsychological evaluation
• nuclear medicine
• Invasive monitoring
20. QUESTIONS THAT HELP CLARIFY THE TYPE
OF SEIZURE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
Was any warning noted before the spell?
What did the patient do during the spell?
Was the patient able to relate to the environment during the spell ?
How did the patient feel after the spell? How long did it take for the patient to get back to
How long did the spell last?
How frequent do the spells occur?
Are any precipitants associated with the spells?
Hx of staring events or myoclonus
• EEG is the test of choice for the diagnosis of epilepsy (Inter-ictal EEG is abnormal
in only about 50% of patients with recurrent seizures, so it cannot be used to exclude
• For etiology:
• Structural lesion? • CT • MRI
• Metabolic disorder? • Urea and electrolytes • Liver function tests • Blood glucose •
Serum calcium, magnesium
• Inflammatory or infective disorder? • Full blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate,
C-reactive protein • Chest X-ray • Serology for syphilis, HIV, collagen disease • CSF
• Are the attacks truly epileptic? • Ambulatory EEG • Videotelemetry
Indications for brain imaging in epilepsy:
• Epilepsy starting after the age of 16 years
• Seizures having focal features clinically
• Electroencephalogram showing a focal seizure
• Control of seizures difficult or deteriorating
• Divided to
• acute management of the acutely seizing patient (status epilepticus)
• chronic management of the epileptic patient
• Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) should be considered where risk of seizure
recurrence is high
• In patients with first-time seizure, anticonvulsant therapy should be
started only if
• the patient has an abnormal neurologic exam,
• presented with status epilepticus,
• has a strong family history of seizure,
• has an abnormal EEG
29. CLINICAL USES OF ANTIEPILEPTIC
• Tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures: lamotrigine, levetiracetam,
phenytoin, valproate. Use of single drug is preferred when
possible, because of risk of pharmacokinetic interactions.
• Partial (focal) seizures:
• 1st line: lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine
• 2nd line: carbamazepine, gabapentin
• Absence seizures (petit mal): ethosuximide or valproate.
• Myoclonic seizures: valproate or clonazepam.
• Woman with childbearing potential: lamotrigine, levetiracetam
• Older pts: Gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam
30. BASIC RULES FOR DRUG TREATMENT
• Drug treatment should be simple, preferably using one
anticonvulsant (monotherapy). “Start low, increase
• Add-on therapy is necessary in some patients…
• If pt is seizure-free for three years, withdrawal of
pharmacotherapy should be considered.
• It should be performed very carefully and slowly! 20%
of pts will suffer a further sz within 2 yrs.
32. DRUG RESISTANT EPILEPSY
• Failure of at least TWO antiepileptic medications
to completely control seizures
• Appropriately chosen for seizure type
• Taken as prescribed
• Well tolerated (not failed due to side effects)