A prospective comparison between two seizure classifications

Selim R. Benbadis, Greg Pontone, Pierre Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The International Classification of Epileptic Seizures is the most widely used, but an alternative system based purely on ictal symptoms and signs has been proposed: the semiological classification. Our objective was to compare the two in a sample of patients evaluated at epilepsy centers. We collected 78 consecutive patients evaluated in outpatient epilepsy clinics who subsequently underwent noninvasive video-EEG monitoring at three centers. Patients with pseudoseizures were excluded. Seizure were first classified based on information obtained during clinic visits, and again after video-EEG monitoring. Each time, seizures were classified using both the International Classification and the semiological classification. Eventual epilepsy syndrome diagnosis was based on all the clinical data, video-EEG monitoring, and other independent tests including imaging studies. Sixty-six (87%) patients were classified as having 'complex partial seizures' in the International Classification. Using the semiological classification, these same 66 patients were classified as follows: automotor (34), dialeptic (17), hypermotor (13), hypomotor (2). Seizure classification changed between initial 'clinic-based' data and the 'monitoring-based' classification in 27 cases using the ILAE, vs. six using the semiological classification. Seizure classification tended to change significantly between pre- and post-monitoring using the ILAE but not the semiological classification. The term complex partial seizure included multiple categories of the semiological classification, and was very nonspecific. The semiological classification may be better suited for everyday clinic use, since it is based solely on clinical characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-249
Number of pages3
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Classification
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures
  • Semiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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