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The 42st National Conference of Child and Adolescent Neurology and Psychiatry and Allied Professions with international participation


NON-EPILEPTIC PAROXYMAL PHENOMENS IN CHILDREN – DIAGNOSTIC ASSESMENT

Autor: Svetlana Hadjiu Cornelia Călcîi Andrei Bunduchi Anastasia Railean Elena Hadjiu
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There are many paroxysmal afections which can simulate epileptic seizures in children. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of epilepsy is overrated, despite the disastrous effects of the wrongly attributed label of epilepsy on children’s psychic. Aproximately 30% of patients hospitalized to neuropediatric services with a diagnosis of possible epilepsy are found to suffer from other, mostly benign conditions. The most common of these include sincope, faints/ presyncope, sobbing spasm, pseudoepileptic seizures, benign infantile myoclonus, migraine and periodic syndromes, paroxysmal disturbances occuring during sleep. Correct interpretation of clinical history, physical examination, EEG, adapted to each case, constitute steps of differential diagnosis of epilepsy other nonepileptic paroxysms.

Actualities. Non-epileptic paroxysmal manifestations represent a group of diseases commonly encountered in everyday practice of the neuropaediatric doctor. Their frequency, ac cording to various sources of literature, is from 1.5% to 28%. Non-epileptic events are often diagnosed as epileptic ones. In these cases, the treatment initiated with antiepileptic medication is unjustified and has unfavorable psychic and economo-social consequences.

Child’s epilepsies, next to the other critical cerebral non-epileptic events, are the most common age-related neurological disorders. The differential diagnosis of epilepsy is essential, because its personal and social consequences on the affected patients should be based only on solid data, epilepsy being, unfortunately, overdiagnosed. Jeavons [15, 33] found that 20-25% of the patients related to their epilepsy, had not epileptic seizures.

The underrating of the diagnosis of epilepsy is much less common. However, the erroneous diagnosis of non-epileptic seizures may be appreciated in patients with atypical manifestations, supposed to be, in a wrong way, of psychogenic origin, but which are represented by the paroxysmal movements, or, in the cases of frontal family epilepsy, by the nocturnal seizures which, not frequently, are interpreted as parasomnias [25, 33].

In this study, the differential diagnosis is limited to the opinions connected to the comprehension of the clinical manifestations of non-epileptic seizures. The actuality of the study is determined by the errors in diagnosis, in differential diagnosis, particularly epilepsy, as well as its treatment.

Aim of the study: The assessment of the clinical features in children with paroxysmal events in order to differentiate non-epileptic paroxysmal clinical events from the epileptic ones.

Materials and methods: The study included 387 children with various critical events, suspected to be with the diagnosis of  “Epilepsy”, 182 girls and 205 boys aged between 1 and 18 years, who were examined neurologically and supplementary: electroencephalography (EEG), echocardiography (ECG), brain computed tomography (CT) and brain nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (by indications). All the patients previously received antiepileptic treatment.

Results of the study: 387 children were overseen at the Neuropediatrics Clinic of USMF „Nicolae Testemiţanu”, previously diagnosed with epilepsy. The paroxysmal events were defined according to the International Classification of Diseases of the Nervous System (G00-G99). The diagnosis was confirmed on the basis of complex clinical and paraclinical investigation results. The non-epileptic paroxysmal events in the study group  were distributed in the following way (according to the anamnestic data, antecedents, clinical manifestations, EEG data) (tab. 1).

 

Table 1
The frequency of epileptic and non epileptic paroxysmal events in the study group.

The abnormal paroxysmal motor events that may not be recognized as epileptic ones due to their unusual characteristics were diagnosed in 130 children (33.6%) with the following structure (of 130 children) : anoxic / hypoxic seizures – 67.7%, paroxysmal attacks caused by toxic agents – 1.54%, pseudoepileptic seizures and other psychiatric manifestations – 3.08%, hyperventilation syndrome – 6.15%, paroxysmal movement disorders (paroxysmal vertigo and torticollis) – 0.77%, other movement disorders – 1.54% , episodes featured by altering the response to stimuli – 2.31​​%, migraine and periodic syndromes – 10.76%, paroxysmal disorders that occur during the sleep – 6.15%.

The paroxysmal events which were seen most frequently in young children, represent the hypoxic (anoxic) seizures. They included a loss or a reduction of consciousness and other sensory-motor phenomena, caused by: reflex hypoxic seizures  and “breath-holding spells” (BHSS , sobbing spasms), unusual types of reflex hypoxic seizures, cardiogenic syncopes, Near-Miss sudden Death and apparent life-threatening events in infants.

The anoxic seizures were due to the disorders of the brain oxygenation as a result of the bradycardia (heart rate under 40 beats per minute) or tachycardia (over 150 beats per minute). It is known that the cortical hypoxia leads to the loss of the consciousness and the postural tone. The EEG route in this children showed slow waves (a slight slowdown of the dominant cortical rhythms’ frequency, produced by the increasing of the cortical hypoxia degree) (89.5%).

22% of the recorded hypoxic seizures, were of pale type, probably due to the reflex hypoxic mechanism, 73% – of cyanotic type (suggestive for BHSs). The clinical debut of the hypoxic seizures was mostly performed in children between 6 and 18 months of life (97%); a very precocious start, even from the first day of life, was seen hardly ever (3%).

The classic reflex-hypoxic seizures were typically precipitated by pain (67%), often due to a blow to the head (33%). The infant was beginning to scream, but the scream was quickly interrupted by the abolition of consciousness and muscle tone, resulting in a fall, which was slow and gradual or sudden. When asystole was persisting for more than a few seconds, the hypertonus of the trunk and extremities and opisthotonus were common; few clonuses and eye deviation, either up or down, were common. The child was becoming pale and parents were occasionally noting the absence of the pulse. The child was regaining consciousness and hypertonus was disappearing after a variable period (usually 30-60 sec.). In some cases (9%), an epileptic seizure, usually clonic, was following the tonic one. Atypical events, such as lateral bending of the body and postcritic confusion, were observed only in 8 children.

The constant presence of a precipitating factor was a major feature, but it was difficult to detect because of a superficial interrogation. The occurrence of the reflex-hypoxic attacks was facilitated by fever in 25% of children. In some cases (9%), the seizures were caused by specific factors, such as: hot bath, combing hair, excessive “stretching” of the body.

BHSs are closely related to the reflex-hypoxic seizures. The BHSS occurred in children with neuropathic constitution: instability, emotiveness. BHSS represent a particular form of a syncope which is reactive to anger, pain, frustration, fear, mild trauma which produce crying and are maintained by an exaggerated anxiety of the family environment. The child was usually beginning to sob for a few seconds, then some shocks that were becoming increasingly shorter were  produced, which led to inspirations more and more superficial, finally arriving at the thorax fixed in apnea. A cyanosis with loss of the consciousness was producing. The sobbing spasm could imitate epilepsy, especially when the initial phase of crying was absent. After a few seconds the child was regaining the breathing, skin color and consciousness. BHSs differentiation of reflex-hypoxic seizures is difficult, although their clinical presentation may vary. In almost all cases of BHSs, baby was crying vigorously (sobbing- le spasme du sanglot, a French name of BHSs) a prolonged period of time, after which expiration was blocking, resulting in cyanosis, hypotonus, loss of consciousness. ECG revealed bradycardia (87%), which was replacing the initial tachycardia.  EEG was demonstrating the slow ing of the track (82%) and sometimes „flattening” (18%) (isoelectric aspect). Although the sequence of the events BHSs is evident, a number of diagnostic errors were reported, especially in seizure type. Errors can be also made in the initial phase of the scream, or sobs are missing and apnea occurs early or even after a gasp (heavy breathing).

EEG contributed to the elucidation of the diagnosis, with a normal aspect, or reflected the cerebral disturbances due to the hypoxia (predominance of slow waves). The EEG frequency was variable to each child. Drug treatment was not necessary. The prognosis, in these cases, is good, with the entire frightening clinical appearance.

The syncopal atacks were registered in 19 children and were characterized by transitory loss of consciousness and muscle tone, related to a transient insufficiency of the cerebral irrigation. The most important mechanism which caused the blood flow decreasing is the cardio-inhibitory, mediated by the vagus nerve or by a vasodepressor mechanism (vaso-vagal syncope). The  triggers (emotions, stress, fear, prolonged standing) were suggestive and the clinical signs  were essential for a certain diagnosis. Also, the diagnosis was facilitated by the existence of similar cases in the family. In most patients there was a prodrome represented by feeling sick, blurred vision, palpitations, epigastric or chest pain. During the attack the patient was becoming pale, with weak pulse, falling slow, which allowed the child to lengthen in the bed. In other cases, the fall could be sharply, making it difficult to differentiate from epilepsy. The attacks were usually occurring in orthostatism. The duration was short (1-2 minutes or less). The postcritical phenomena encountered in epilepsy were missing (the postcritical sleep). In this group of patients the prognosis is generally good.

The cardiogenic syncope (hypoxic conditions) which are common, especially, in adults, were found in children (5% of investigated children), being caused by the aortic stenosis and the mitral valve prolapse. It is important to distinguish them from the other forms of syncope, whereas some rhythm and conduction disorders, being unknown and therefore untreated, could have a fatal evolution.

The paroxysmal attacks caused by toxic agents, rarely diagnosed (0.52%), but related, especially, with drugs, should always be under consideration in children, especially in young ones. Some toxics could cause epileptic seizures (ex. tricyclic antidepressants) or acute dystonic episodes, which are commonly misinterpreted as seizure events, making difficult the differentiation.

Pseudoepileptic crises and other psychiatric manifestations represent another common cause of an erroneous diagnosis of epilepsy. Such crises were diagnosed in 4 children, characterized by “psychogenic” seizures (mother was inventing a sophisticated history of seizures or the child mimed involuntary movements similar to the clonic seizures) and by attacks of anger. Psychogenic crises represent one of the most common diagnostic errors, being confused with other neurological manifestations, particularly epilepsy. They can occur in the real epileptics who study to imitate the crises in a conflict context in order to get some benefits. In the cases of treatment-resistant epilepsy, this association should be suspected. The EEG in critical phase wasn’t showing paroxysmal discharges in any case of psychogenic seizures. But, the intercritical records could be paroxysmal in the epileptic patients who had also pseudoseizures. The recording of a critical discharge during a clinical event is a diagnostic element of a genuine seizure. The EEG and video-EEG records and the test of inducing pseudoseizures by suggestion help in diagnosis. The treatment involves the use of anxiolytics, highlighting the conflicts, that are decisive in the psychotherapy sessions, which should refer to the finding of other ways to resolve the conflicts than the somatic ones.

The hyperventilation syndrome, quite common, especially in adolescent girls was found in 8 cases. The common complaints are the dyspnoea, thoracic pain and dizziness, the syncope and pseudoabsences being unusual. These clinical events shouldn’t be confused with the epileptic seizures, in particular by the presence of the large slow and rhythmic waves on the EEG line (68%), which may resemble the peaks-wave discharges.

Benign paroxysmal vertigo, a pure vestibular disorder with distinct clinical features, the cardinal symptom being vertigo, in our patients appeared isolated (in the absence of other symptoms) was related in 2 cases (age 4-6 years). The attacks of vertigo occurred in healthy patients; the debut being brutal and sever, which determines an overall instability, although sometimes attacks could be less severe. The attacks were being short, lasting seconds, usually less than one minute, and seldom more than a few minutes. The pallor was often associated. Also was appearing sweating and sometimes vomiting. The nystagmus was observed in one case. The attacks was occurring in a seated position, in orthostatism or in supine position, there being no relations with the body posture or with the movement. There were no precipitating factors of vertigo attacks. Consciousness was not being impaired during the attacks and there was no headache or associated pains. The EEG was recording a normal track in all the cases.

The paroxysmal movement disorders and the episodic ataxias were rarely recorded, episodes of ataxia – 1 case (can easily be distinguished from epileptic seizures). The non-epileptic myoclonus, manifested in the form of the infantile sleep myoclonus, was diagnosed in only one case in a normal infant during the first month of life. This is another movement  disorder which can make diagnosis difficulties and is often a manifestation of epilepsy, which can also be non-epileptic [14, 33]. The EEG was normal.

The infantile masturbation, another movement disorder, was established in one girl of 8 months. The child, being perfectly health, was presenting a strong adduction of the thighs, with a fixed look, a congested face, shaking hands and sometimes a profusely sweating. At the end of the paroxysm, the child was deeply breathing and was falling asleep. The confusion with a complex partial seizure is discussed [21, 24, 33]. The EEG was normal.

The episodes characterized by the impairment of the response to stimuli was met in 3 children of 6-9 year age, in the form of dreaming (day dreaming – a common source of diagnosis errors with the absence of epilepsy) and was being characterized by the lack of a debut and a sudden end of the crisis and by the lack persistence of the response to stimuli of sufficient intensity (these might be some states associated with the intermittent metabolic disorders).

The migraine was met in 11 children aged between 9-16 years and was characterized by paroxysmal symptoms of the CNS dysfunction such as paresthesia, scotoms, mental impairment and paresis in association with headache, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms made diagnosis difficulties between migraine and epilepsy. In many cases, however, the diagnosis is relatively easy to determine, when a thorough case history of the patient is made. The periodic syndrome (diagnosed in 3 children), which may be closely related to migraine, includes the syndrome of recurrent abdominal episodic pains and the syndrome of cyclic vomiting.

The night terror, diagnosed in 8 cases (children of 18 month -5 year age), is characterized by recurrent episodes of sudden awakening but incomplete, which occurred in the first third of sleep. This represents one of the most common manifestations of the paroxysmal disorder group that occur during the sleep, which may indicate the diagnosis of epilepsy in children. The night terror in children is alarming for parents because of the dramatic attack and symptomatically content. The number of crisis varied from patient to patient, reaching, in some cases, up to 3-4 per night. There was a case when the crisis started during the daytime sleep, the clinical picture being the same as during the night. The attack was suddenly triggered after about 30 min – 2 hours of sleep. The child was sitting or standing, becoming pale and bloodshot, with a terrified look and racked face of emotion. The child was screaming, crying for help, defending with gesticulations and was talking sometimes unintelligible words. The vegetative reactions were intensifying, the pulse was varying around 120 beats/min. The clinical picture was being completed by tachypnea, dyspnea, cold sweats and mydriasis. The attempts of the parents to wake the child during the crisis were in vain. Although the child seemed to be awake, he was not recognizing his parents, even they were making an effort to calm him. During this time the child was congested or rarely pale, was heavily sweating, was tachycardic, with dilated pupils, a pronounced dyspnea and an increased muscle tone; all the phenomena being caused by the significant activation of the vegetative system. The episode duration was 1-10 minutes, after which the child was suddenly calming down, was falling asleep again and waking up in the morning he was not having the memory of the event, not recalling the episode. The clinical symptoms were diminishing gradually over about 1-2 min. from the crisis beginning. The EEG was normal.

Discussions. According to the studied literature, the diagnosis of epilepsy is difficult and requires the presence of repetitive unprovoked seizures. The epileptic seizures can be confused with other paroxysmal events. The notion of chronicity, which is associated with epilepsy, involves a sufficient duration of the crisis, being clearly arbitrary (months, years). Conversely, some unique clinical episodes, which are associated with specific EEG aspects (as in Roland epilepsy), can be considered as representing, in practical purpose, the major criterion for the diagnosis of epilepsy, but not for the therapeutic attitude [1, 2, 3, 7, 32 , 33].

Different authors have studied more children receiving antiepileptic medication for the presented paroxysmal events. For instance, Jeavons [15] reviewed the most common diagnostic errors in 200 patients; therefore, the syncopes constituted 44% of errors, psychiatric disorders 20%, BHSS (breath holding spells) 11%, migraine and nocturnal errors, each 60 % and several other entities – 11%. The main causes of the diagnostic errors were: an inadequate anamnesis, the presence in the family history of epilepsy or febrile seizures, an abnormal EEG, the misinterpretation of the clonic movements or urine incontinence, as being essential (inherent) epileptic.

Jeavons [15] accentuated, but often overlooked, the fact that the non-epileptic convulsive crisis may appear even in epileptic patients who are in treated, and therefore, every seizure of a „known epileptic” should not necessarily be interpreted as a recurrence.

Robinson [33, 37], in a study entirely composed of children, found that the diagnosis of epilepsy was doubtful in 94 out of 201 patients, with a clinical evidence of a possible diagnosis of epilepsy and in 75 children were obviously other kinds of episodic „attacks”. The most common non-epileptic paroxysmal manifestation of these series of children was BHSS (breath holding spells). The fainting, migraine and dizziness or vertigo represent symptoms described in several sources. Metrick et al. [23] found that the most common cause of the misdiagnosis of epilepsy in children was an unusual reaction to stimuli which included a stop of the ongoing activity, a stereotypic behavior and / or abnormal movements. In few cases (the authors say), the possible diagnosis of epilepsy may not be considered in patients with symptoms, mainly, cognitive and/or behavioral. However, an EEG performed in a sleep state may reveal an intense paroxysmal activity. Some of these children can have rare seizures, while others may not have any seizure. In these cases, the term of cognitive epilepsy was proposed by Deonna (1996) [32, 33], emphasizing that in this notion the cognitive and/or behavioral manifestations may be a direct consequence of the epileptic activity and these represent an equivalent to seizures.

Some abnormal paroxysmal motor events may not be recognized as seizures because of their unusual characteristics. This fact may be true in the patients with seizures in the supplementary motor area [17], in which case they may be considered as having psychogenic pseudoseizures [18]. They say that a similar situation also occurs in some nocturnal familial frontal epilepsy, which are misdiagnosed as parasomnias or behavioral disorders [25].

The authors have also diagnostic references for the convulsive syncope, which, according to the studies of many authors, represents another diagnostic error and seems to be more common than is generally considered. It was observed in 42% of the cases prospectively studied in the fainting blood donors [20, 33]. It is known that the reflex hypoxic seizures and BHSs, often found in children, are probably pathophysiological distinct phenomena. The reflex hypoxic seizures are usually the result of a temporary asystole with reflex origin, but the cyanotic manifestation of the BHSs and the moan/grunting suggests an expiratory apnea with an intrapulmonary blood shunt and a ventilation and perfusion disturbance [33, 41]. The reflex hypoxic seizures and the BHSs may often coexist in the same child having mechanisms which differ in different episodes. There is no absolute proof that these two entities differ significantly [33, 41]. The global frequency of these two entities, which is approximately 4% in children, is actually larger. These seizures, named hypoxic – epileptic, can be long lasting and in some cases was observed the status epilepticus. Conversely, a true epileptic seizure can cause a severe hypoxia as a consequence of the convulsive discharge interference with respiratory control mechanism. This state was called the hypoxic epileptic seizure [33, 40]. However, this condition rarely determines a wrong diagnosis of epilepsy.

The literature sources report that the cardiogenic syncopses are common, especially in adults.  Approximately 20% of the patients hospitalized in the neurology services are suspected of idiopathic epilepsy [11]. The causes of the cardiogenic syncope are: aortic stenosis, mitral valve prolapse, long QT syndrome, sick sinus node syndrome (sick sinus syndrome) etc.

There are also reports that young infants, particularly those under 6 months of age, are often diagnosed with epilepsy with dramatic episodes including the color changing, abnormal respiratory rate or bradycardia. Some of these infants may present dystonic and opistotonus postures, often preceded by anxiety / agitation and a figure characterized by fear. Some of these symptoms may be caused by episodes of gastroesophageal reflux [33, 35, 38, 39] which can be diagnosed by the pH determination and/or manometry and radiology. Other children may have episodes of „near-miss” sudden infant death, especially during sleep. Some of these episodes may lead to a severe degree of hypoxia, followed by brain damages manifested by epileptic crisis or status epilepticus. Contrariwise, severe epileptic seizures can cause a suggestive condition of sudden death (Near-Miss Sudden Death). In these situations the seizures are not recognized. The suffocation is probably a major mechanism for the sudden death in infant [3, 32, 33, 39].

The paroxysmal attacks caused by toxic agents were described as being the consequence of the administration of the drugs responsible most commonly for dystonic episodes. The coma was considered the major clinical manifestation. The endogenous toxicity, the result of the metabolic   disturbances, especially hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia, should be also taken into consideration. The hypocalcemia in young children was considered a real convulsive manifestation, more often met than the classical tetany [3, 5, 33].

The pseudoepileptic crises were associated, in most cases, with the epileptic. The similarity is made with episodes as, for example, the anxiety attacks, acute phobia and feelings of failure which don’t represent major diagnostic problems. However, the panic attacks are sometimes erroneously confused with the epilepsy [13].

Hyperpnea is also defined as the result of the increasing of the rate and the depth of the respiration movements, while hyperventilation is reflected by the fact that the ventilator effort is greater than the metabolic needs. If hyperventilation is responsible for sensory symptoms and rarely unilateral motor symptoms the diagnosis can be difficult [8]. Hyperventilation in children and in adolescents should alert the physician who should research the presence of family misunderstandings and some significant psychological disturbances [16].

The paroxysmal attacks of vertigo, which can be recurrent, were also discussed. Paroxysmal torticolis may be probably related to the paroxysmal vertigo, both entities reflecting a vestibular dysfunction [2, 3]. This entity may be probably misdiagnosed as epilepsy because of its long duration and the preservation of consciousness [10, 33]. The episodes may last for hours or days and occur at intervals of weeks or months; they are usually associated with vomiting, instability and tendency of transition of the torticolis to the other side of the neck, sometimes associated with trunk bowing and unilateral stiffness of the neck. The routine radiological examination of the cranial-cervical region is necessary for the exclusion of an intermittent subluxation of the cervical region [27, 33].

Hereditary paroxysmal ataxia and paroxysmal dyskinesia also can be misdiagnosed. They, being recently individualized from the point of view of the underlying mechanisms, are easily differentiated from the epileptic seizures. They are characterized by sudden start of the transient attacks of extrapyramidal movements, which can be dystonic or choreoathetoid and, which are usually located in one part of the body [19, 28, 30, 33, 34].

Another discussed problem represent myocloni, which are physiological and occur in normal infants during the first weeks of life [9]; mainly involving the extremities, often occur in groups, with a duration of a few minutes; they occur repeatedly over periods of several hours and can be misdiagnosed as status epilepticus. Myocloni disappear when the infant wakes up [4]; they affect seldom the trunk and never the face. They disappear spontaneously within 6 months of age.

Infantile masturbation, which is also discussed, is common in the early years of life, especially in girls. This minor episode is harmless and disappears spontaneously. There is no need of any treatment, excepting the calming of the parents [3, 31, 33].

Benign infantile myoclonus, sometimes confused with epilepsy, is installed between 6 months and 3 years in the previous healthy infant. The crises are short, generalized,  discrete at the start, so that are difficult to specify, because they progressively appear several times per day , prevailing in the upper limbs, which are in abduction and sometimes associated with ocular revulsion; the serial mioclonic crises, lasting 1 -3 seconds, can sometimes cause imbalance,  rarely falling, but never lost of the consciousness. The trigger isn’t often detected, excepting during the period of falling asleep [36]. The evolution is favorable, with the disappearance of myocloni under valproate therapy associated if it is necessary with succinimides.

Tics can be often confused with epilepsy in older children. Tics are rare under the age of 3 years. They represent rapid involuntary movements, are stereotypic, without any purpose, in a particular muscle group, often interesting the face (wink, forehead frown, grimaces etc.) or other segments (shoulders shrug and grip movements, stereotypic gestures etc). EEG is normal [2, 33].

The relationship between migraine and epilepsy is widely discussed in literature [6]. Though, the migraine and epilepsy are fundamentally different entities, some syndromes, for example, occipital epilepsy with continuous wave-peaks [26, 29, 33], present characteristics of the both entities. The diagnosis is relatively easy to determine when a thorough anamnesis of the patient is made.

In comparison with epilepsy, the polygraphic records in night terror showed that the episodes occur during awakening in the fourth stage of sleep (sleep with deep slow waves) and that is not associated with any electroencephalographic paroxysm. The episodes of night terror may persist until the age of 8 years in half of affected children and until the adolescence in 1/3 of cases [2, 12, 32, 33]. Nightmares can determine an almost similar picture as night terror do, the main difference being their appearance during sleep characterized by rapid ocular movement (REM sleep). The nightmares, as well as the night terror, are often misdiagnosed as epileptic events [12, 22, 31, 33].

Conclusions. We studied children with paroxysmal events. Approximately 33.6% of patients suspected with the diagnosis of “Epilepsy” actually suffered from non-epileptic paroxysmal states. Overdiagnosis of “Epilepsy” has a devastating impact on the patient and his family and lead to serious psychological and socio-economic consequences. Incorrect interpretation of the EEG and the interpretation without taking into consideration the clinical history of the patient is the cause of errors in the diagnosis of epilepsy. Less commonly, the reverse error consists in the excluding of the diagnosis of epilepsy, based on a normal EEG. The most common diagnostic errors can be avoided by a thorough anamnesis, which remains the major step in establishing the diagnosis. Physical examination is the second step in the diagnosis. The paraclinical examination, adapted to each case, is the third stage of the diagnosis and lead to the differentiation of epilepsy from other non-epileptic paroxysms. The differential diagnosis of paroxysmal states and epilepsy can be possible by creating cabins and special centers which are equipped with video-EEG monitoring systems.

 

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