John Libbey Eurotext

Adult absence semiology misinterpreted as mesial temporal lobe epilepsy Volume 16, numéro 4, December 2014


  • Adult absence semiology misinterpreted as mesial temporal lobe epilepsy


  • Figure 1


1 Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL

Correct diagnosis of seizure type and epilepsy syndrome is the foundation for appropriate antiepileptic drug selection. Inappropriate medication choices occur in the treatment of generalized epilepsy and may aggravate some seizure types, including absence seizures, potentially leading to pseudo-drug resistance. Fortunately, a correct diagnosis of absence seizures is usually not difficult, though rarely demonstrates electroclinical overlap with focal seizures. EEG can be especially misleading when secondary bilateral synchronous discharges occur in patients with focal seizures. However, the semiology of focal seizures associated with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy has a characteristic and consistent semiology that is the mark of this common epilepsy syndrome in adulthood. We recently encountered a 53-year-old female with refractory seizures and a semiology strongly suggesting mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Instead of focal seizures, prolonged absence seizures were validated by video-EEG monitoring and she became seizure-free after a change to broad-spectrum antiepileptic drugs. This case further expands our understanding of the complexity of semiology in electroclinical classification and the spectrum that may occur in adult absence seizures. It serves to underscore the need for ictal EEG recordings and the importance of concordance with the clinical course during the pre-surgical evaluation of patients with lesions and drug-resistant epilepsy. [Published with video sequences]