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Epilepsia. 1999 Aug;40(8):1085-91.

Regional cerebral blood flow during temporal lobe seizures associated with ictal vomiting: an ictal SPECT study in two patients.

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  • 1Universitätskliniken für Neurologie, Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung, Vienna, Austria.



Ictal vomiting represents a rare clinical manifestation during seizures originating from the temporal lobes of the nondominant hemisphere. The precise anatomic structures responsible for generation of ictal vomiting remain to be clarified. Ictal single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), which allows one to visualize the three-dimensional dynamic changes of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) associated with the ongoing epileptic activity, should be useful to study the brain areas activated during ictal vomiting.


We performed ictal Tc-HMPAO SPECT scans in two patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) whose seizures were characterized by ictal retching and vomiting. MTLE was documented by typical clinical seizure semiology, interictal and ictal EEG findings, hippocampal atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and a seizure-free outcome after selective amydalohippocampectomy. In both patients, seizures originated in the nondominant temporal lobe. We obtained accurate anatomic reference of rCBF changes visible on SPECT by a special coregistration technique of MRI and SPECT. We used ictal SPECT studies in 10 patients with MTLE who had seizures without ictal vomiting as controls.


In the two patients with ictal vomiting, we found a significant hyperperfusion of the nondominant temporal lobe (inferior, medial, and lateral superior) and of the occipital region on ictal SPECT. In patients without ictal vomiting, on the contrary, these brain regions never were hyperperfused simultaneously.


Ictal SPECT provides further evidence that activation of a complex cortical network, including the medial and lateral superior aspects of the temporal lobe, and maybe the occipital lobes, is responsible for the generation of ictal vomiting.

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