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Neurology. 1991 Oct;41(10):1643-6.

The clinical features and prognosis of pseudoseizures diagnosed using video-EEG telemetry.

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  • 1University Department of Clinical Neurology, Queen Square, London, UK.


A total of 110 patients underwent diagnostic evaluation for attacks of uncertain origin by means of video-EEG telemetry and had a diagnosis of pseudoseizures confirmed. Eighty-six patients (78%) were female, mean age of onset 25 years, and mean duration of attacks was 3 years. Many of the patients had erroneously been thought to be suffering from epilepsy. The attacks could be divided into two broad categories: attacks of collapse (one-third) and attacks with prominent motor activity (two-thirds). In some patients, the attacks were associated with incontinence and injury. The differential diagnosis and clinical features of the attacks are described. Additional psychiatric features were present in 52 (47%) patients. Follow-up (for a median 5 years; range, 1 to 14 years) showed that 40% of these patients stopped having pseudoseizures. This favorable outcome was associated with being female, leading an independent life, a formal psychological approach to therapy and counseling, and the absence of coexisting epilepsy, but not with the duration of pseudoepilepsy, prior episodes of pseudostatus, the coexistence of overt psychiatric disease, or the clinical features of the attacks.

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