John Libbey Eurotext

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Epileptic Disorders

The Educational Journal of the International League Against Epilepsy

Parietal lobe epilepsy: the great imitator among focal epilepsies Volume 14, issue 1, March 2012


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Epilepsy Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA, Epilepsy Center, Clinic of Neurology CCS, Belgrade, Serbia, Department of Neurology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW, Australia
  • Key words: parietal lobe epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, frontal lobe epilepsy, mislocalization, interictal EEG, ictal EEG, semiology
  • DOI : 10.1684/epd.2012.0484
  • Page(s) : 22-31
  • Published in: 2012

Aim. Comprising large areas of association cortex, the parietal lobe is part of an extensive synaptic network elaborately intertwined with other brain regions. We hypothesize that such widespread projections are responsible for producing inaccurate localisation readings on scalp EEG and clinical semiology in patients with parietal lobe epilepsies, as opposed to frontal or temporal lobe epilepsies. Methods. Our study included 50 patients with pharmacoresistant focal epilepsy, who were subsequently rendered seizure-free for ≥12 months (median: 23 months) following resections limited to the frontal ( n=17), temporal ( n=17), or parietal ( n=16) lobes. Interictal and ictal EEG data with accompanying seizure video recordings were extracted from archived files of scalp video-EEG monitoring. Two blinded raters independently reviewed the EEG according to predetermined criteria. Videos of seizures were then observed, as raters formulated their final electroclinical impression (ECI), identifying patients’ abnormal neuronal activities with parietal, temporal, and frontal lobe epilepsy, or unspecified localisation. Results. Groups did not differ significantly in demographics, age at epilepsy onset, or presence of MRI abnormalities. Interictal discharges in parietal lobe epilepsy showed the greatest magnitude of scatter outside the lobe of origin; the majority of patients with parietal lobe epilepsy had more than one spike population ( p<0.045). Localised ictal EEG recognition was most frequent in temporal, followed by frontal and parietal lobe epilepsy cases ( p=0.024). Whenever raters confidently limited their ECI to one lobar subtype, overall accuracy was excellent. Lobar classifications by ECI were highly accurate for temporal lobe epilepsy, vacillating in frontal lobe epilepsy, and least accurate in parietal lobe epilepsy subjects. Conclusion. Scalp EEG readings of parietal lobe epilepsy patients showed a more variable scatter of interictal discharges and a lower localisation value of ictal recordings compared to temporal and frontal lobe epilepsy subjects, suggesting an increased likelihood of misidentification and mislocalisation of parietal lobe epilepsy. Combining seizure semiology with scalp interictal and ictal EEG readings facilitates a more accurate lobar classification in patients with temporal and frontal, but not parietal, lobe epilepsy.