NON-EPILEPTIC SEIZURE RESEARCH ARTICLES
A staged approach A report from the International League Against Epilepsy Nonepileptic Seizures Task Force
*†W. Curt LaFrance Jr., ‡Gus A. Baker, §Rod Duncan, ¶Laura H. Goldstein, and #Markus Reuber
SUMMARY An international consensus group of clinician-researchers in epilepsy, neurology, neuropsychology, and neuropsychiatry collaborated with the aim of developing clear guidance on standards for the diagnosis of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES). Because the gold standard of video electroencephalography (vEEG) is not available worldwide, or for every patient, the group delineated a staged approach to PNES diagnosis. Using a consensus review of the literature, this group evaluated key diagnostic approaches. These included: history, EEG, ambulatory EEG, vEEG/monitoring, neurophysiologic, neurohumoral, neuroimaging, neuropsychological testing, hypnosis, and conversation analysis. Levels of diagnostic certainty were developed including possible, probable, clinically established, and documented diagnosis, based on the availability of history, witnessed event, and investigations, including vEEG. The aim and hope of this report is to provide greater clarity about the process and certainty of the diagnosis of PNES, with the intent to improve the care for people with epilepsy and nonepileptic seizures.
“The prevalence of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures is difficult to estimate. We propose an estimate based on a calculation. We used the following data, which are known or have been estimated, and are generally accepted. A prevalence of epilepsy of 0.5-1%; a proportion of intractable epilepsy of 20-30%; a percentage of these referred to epilepsy centers of 20-50%; and a percentage of patients referred to epilepsy centers that are psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: 10-20%. Using the low estimates, the prevalence of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures would be 1/50 000. Using the high estimates, the prevalence of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures would be 1/3000. The prevalence of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures is somewhere between 1/50 000 and 1/3000, or 2 to 33 per 100 000, making it a significant neurologic condition.”