Feature Article Neurology
Investigating a seizure: is it epilepsy?
Epileptic seizures have varied symptoms and many paroxysmal events can be imitators of epileptic attacks. A detailed eyewitness report of the patient’s behaviour during a seizure can be a valuable diagnostic tool.
- A detailed eyewitness report of the patient’s behaviour during a seizure can be a valuable ‘diagnostic tool’. The best chance of obtaining this is when the patient presents.
- EEG remains the best diagnostic test for epilepsy but has a low yield unless prolonged studies are performed.
- Structural brain imaging abnormalities may be found on MRI in almost half of adults and up to one-third of children who present with a first seizure.
- Metabolic derangement is the aetiology for a seizure in only a small proportion of patients.