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Seizure. 2017 Jan;44:143-146. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2016.11.029. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

The misdiagnosis of epilepsy: Appraising risks and managing uncertainty.

Author information

1
Scottish Epilepsy Centre, 20 St Kenneth Drive, Glasgow G51 4QD, United Kingdom. Electronic address: meritxelloto@hotmail.com.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To present evidence from the literature on the rates, underlying causes and consequences of the misdiagnosis of epilepsy and place these meaningfully within a practical framework of risk appraisal and managed diagnostic uncertainty towards informing a clinical practice that might make misdiagnosis less likely.

METHOD:

Narrative review.

RESULTS:

Misdiagnosis of epilepsy remains common and the consequences for the individual significant. Evidence and critical appraisal are presented as regards the absolute level of risk associated with the false positive diagnosis epilepsy, and reasons as to why those risks need to be appraised against the risks associated to false negative diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Diagnostic error is not entirely avoidable and a degree of uncertainty, and perforce risk, is intrinsic to the diagnostic process of epilepsy. The risks of a false negative diagnosis of epilepsy must be appraised against the also significant risks of a false positive diagnosis.

KEYWORDS:

Diagnostic uncertainty; Epilepsy; Misdiagnosis; Risk appraisal

PMID:
28017581
DOI:
10.1016/j.seizure.2016.11.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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