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Epileptic Disord. 2005 Mar;7(1):5-12.

A semiological classification of status epilepticus.

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Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Freiburg, Germany.


The classification of status epilepticus (SE) has been a subject of discussion for many years, yet no satisfactory agreement has been reached. Due to their complexity, status episodes often defy classification according to the current international classification scheme. The semiological seizure classification (SSC) has been in use in several epilepsy centers for more than a decade, and has proven to be a valid approach to the classification of epileptic seizures. Based on the detailed analysis of more than 100 episodes of SE documented with video-EEG recordings, the authors now present a proposal for a semiological classification of status epilepticus (SCSE). The SCSE reflects the assumption implied by all modern definitions of SE that "there are as many types of status as there are types of seizures" and relies on the same principles as the SSC, focusing on the main clinical manifestations and the evolution of the status episode. The clinical manifestations of SE are subdivided into semiological components and classified along three axes: the type of brain function predominantly compromised by the seizure activity, the body part involved, and the evolution over time. Each axis contains several subcategories, so that many different levels of accuracy are possible. The SCSE, just like the SSC, is meant to be part of a comprehensive epilepsy classification which classifies as independent variables (epileptogenic zone, ictal semiology, etiology, related medical conditions) the main features of the patient's epilepsy, allowing for each variable maximum flexibility.

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