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Seizure. 2003 Jul;12(5):268-81.

Complex partial seizures of frontal lobe onset statistical analysis of ictal semiology.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA. kotagap@ccf.org



To identify the ictal semiology of complex partial seizures originating from the frontal lobe (FLCPS) and mesial temporal lobe (MTLE) in patients who became seizure free after surgery.


We analysed 149 seizures from 42 patients, 28 with MTLE (75 seizures) and 14 with FLCPS (74 seizures) seizure free for at least 1 year after surgery. Fifty-eight symptoms and signs were looked for in every seizure and their time of onset and ending noted. Statistical analysis was then used to define the frequency, time of onset and cluster analysis of these symptoms/signs.


Epigastric aura was more frequent in MTLE while an aura of a general body sensation or indescribable feeling occurred only in FLCPS. Alimentary automatisms were more common and occurred earlier in MTLE (P<0.001). Perseverative automatisms, retching and vomiting occurred exclusively in MTLE while bicycling movements occurred only in FLCPS. Abdominal, psychic or olfactory aura followed by behavioural arrest, alimentary automatisms, repetitive distal upper extremity movements, complete loss of consciousness, looking around and whole body movements were typical of MTLE. Repetitive coarse upper extremity movements, complete loss of consciousness, complex motor and hypermotor activity were typical of FLCPS.


The earliest symptoms and signs as well as their order of appearance allow one to distinguish between complex partial seizures arising from the frontal lobe and mesial temporal lobe.

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