Varying seizure semiology according to age

Nordli, D. R.

Handb Clin Neurol. 2013 Apr 30; 111:455-60

Abstract

The clinical manifestations of seizures change in a predictable fashion with advancing age. For focal seizures these changes can be summarized into domains similar to those used in developmental models. These include fine motor, communication, and gross motor manifestations. Instead of socialization the fourth domain for seizure semiology concerns synchronization. Focal seizures in the very young tend to be simpler with fewer fine motor manifestations. Auras are uncommon, even in young children with some linguistic skill and it is often difficult to discern alteration of consciousness. Infantile focal seizures can present with spasms or even diffuse tonic seizures. In terms of synchronization, orderly secondary generalization is rarely seen so that primary generalized clonic seizures are rarely recorded in infants. Amongst so-called "generalized" seizures spasms are most often seen in the first year of life. Absence seizures, myoclonic-astatic and generalized tonic-clonic seizures are all usually not seen until after age 2 years. A full description of the clinical details of seizures is probably the most important part of the epilepsy history. A detailed knowledge of seizure semiology can make the history more effective and also in the identification of the correct seizure classification.

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