John Libbey Eurotext

Head turning as a prominent motor symptom in status epilepticus Volume 10, numéro 2, June 2008

Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

Head and eye turning is frequently observed during seizures. Versions with tonic and/or clonic symptoms can be differentiated from smooth head deviations. Head turning as a prominent symptom of status epilepticus has not previously been reported. We present eight case reports, (7 women/1 man, mean age 41 years, median 41.5, range 10 to 74), of status epilepticus (SE), with head turning as a prominent motor symptom. Six were accompanied by continuous frontal, occipital and temporal ictal epileptiform discharges. Furthermore, two patients had absence status with rhythmic and clonic head versions. While the localizing significance of head turnings in SE is low, in our cases, the direction was away from the discharging hemisphere in all cases of focal SE regardless of whether the turning was classified as version (three cases) or deviation (three cases). In this small series of SE, the classical observation of a patient looking away from the discharging hemisphere is still valid.