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Symptomatology of epileptic seizures in the elderly Volume 21, issue 3, juillet-août-septembre 2009

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Service de neurophysiologie clinique, hôpital Roger-Salengro, CHRU de Lille, rue Émile-Laine, 59037 Lille, France

Epileptic seizures are a frequent cause of neurological disorders in elderly people. The diagnostic of epileptic seizure is often difficult to prove because the symptoms are often poor or not specific. And even if epilepsy is not rare in elderly people, a cardiovascular pathology is primarily evoked because it is more frequent and urgent to treat. The clinical symptoms are the same than in younger people, depending mainly on the cerebral localisation of the epileptic discharge. However, the duration of the seizure seems to diminish and very often seizures occur in clusters. Moreover, the post-critical symptoms last much longer than in younger subjects, inducing a clinical aspect of prolonged, fluctuating, neurological disorder. Even if its sensitivity is lower than in younger subjects, EEG remains important for the diagnosis and it can be helpful to perform prolonged video-EEG monitoring.