John Libbey Eurotext

Evaluation of absences and myoclonic seizures in adults with genetic (idiopathic) generalized epilepsy: a comparison between self-evaluation and objective evaluation based on home video-EEG telemetry Volume 23, numéro 5, October 2021


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1 Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
2 Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and Neurology, Istanbul University, Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
3 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK
4 Department of Neurology, Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
* Correspondence: Michalis Koutroumanidis Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, St Thomas’ Hospital Westminster bridge road, SE1 7EH, London, UK


People with focal epilepsies are known to under-document their seizures, but there is no data on self-documentation in adults with genetic (idiopathic) generalized epilepsy (GGE/IGE). We assessed the accuracy of self-evaluation of typical absences (TA) or myoclonic seizures (MS) in adults with IGE based on home video-EEG telemetry (HVET).


Patients’ own estimates were compared to the objective count of definite TA and MS, performed visually. We considered definite TA as generalized spike-wave discharges (GSWD) that met any of the following criteria: 1) coinciding with clear behavioural arrest on video, 2) followed after a few seconds by positive indication that an absence occurred, or 3) in the absence of video, consistently coinciding with clear motor arrest, as evidenced by interruption of continuous muscle activity. For each patient, we also classified probable TA as GSWDs that were longer than those corresponding to the shortest definite TA on HVET or based on the most recent sleep-deprived EEG (SDEEG).


From the first 300 consecutive adults who had HVET, 24 had IGE with TA and / or MS; 23 were women. Only one patient had newly diagnosed IGE. Erroneous self-assessment of TA and MS was noted in 16/24 patients (66.7%). Seizures were overestimated in nine (37.5%) and underestimated in seven (29.2%). Only one patient (4.2%) documented all her TA and MS without false-positive estimates. Overestimation (but not underestimation) of TA on HVET could be predicted when patients reported daily or multiple weekly TA and a recent SDEEG was either normal or contained only subclinical GSWD (p=0.0095).


Under- and over-self-documentation of TA and MS occurred in two thirds of adults with GGE/IGE, with substantial impact on their outpatient management and treatment. Diagnostic HVET is a useful tool for the detection of erroneous self-evaluation in these patients.