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Epilepsia. 1995 Jul;36(7):671-5.

Ictal contralateral paresis in complex partial seizures.

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  • 1Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York 14642, USA.


Certain behaviors that occur during a complex partial seizure (CPS) are useful in lateralizing the side of seizure onset. In 5 (5.3%) of 94 consecutive patients with partial epilepsy, we observed ictal unilateral arm and hand paresis during 27 of 34 CPS. In all these seizures, this behavior occurred contralateral to an epileptogenic temporal lobe, as determined by video-EEG monitoring and surgical outcome. In 5 of the 27 seizures, an observer demonstrated that the paretic arm and hand were flaccid. None of these patients had postictal (Todd's) paralysis. In most of the seizures, the arm ipsilateral to seizure onset had simultaneous purposeful movements or automatisms, sometimes with awkward posturing. Ictal unilateral paresis is distinctly different from ictal dystonia or postictal paralysis and consistently lateralizes seizure onset to the contralateral temporal lobe. Recognition of this particular ictal behavior and comparison to other simultaneous behaviors can aid in the lateralization and possibly localization of the epileptogenic zone.

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