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Epilepsia. 2005 Aug;46(8):1280-5.

Predictive clinical factors for the differential diagnosis of childhood extratemporal seizures.

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Epilepsie-Zentrum Bethel, Bielefeld, Germany.



To describe predictive clinical factors for the differentiation between childhood frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) and posterior cortex epilepsy (PCE).


Two independent, blinded investigators analyzed 177 seizures from 35 children (aged 11 months to 12 years) with extratemporal epilepsy selected by postoperative seizure-free outcome. Semiologic seizure components and different periictal signs were observed. Age at onset, auras, seizure frequency, and nocturnal dominance, as well as surgical and histopathologic data, were collected from medical charts.


Twenty patients had FLE, and 15 had PCE. Patients from both groups had daily seizures without significant differences in frequency but with higher nocturnal dominance in children with FLE (p < 0.05). Visual aura, nystagmus, and versive seizure were observed exclusively in the PCE group, whereas somatosensory aura and hypermotor seizures appeared only in FLE. Tonic seizures were significantly more frequent in FLE (p < 0.01), whereas the presence of clonic seizure (FLE; p = 0.07) and postictal nose-wiping (PCE; p = 0.05) showed only a trend to localize the seizure-onset zone. Myoclonic seizures, epileptic spasms, psychomotor seizures, atonic seizures, oral and manual automatisms, as well as vocalization and eye deviation appeared in both groups without significant differences in their frequency.


Characteristic features described in adults' extratemporal epilepsies were frequently missing during childhood seizures, especially in infants and preschool children. Ictal features help only a little in differentiating childhood FLE from PCE. Nocturnal appearance and the type of aura have high localizing value; therefore an accurate history taking is still an essential element of pediatric presurgical evaluation.

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