The lateralizing significance of version of head and dystonic limb posturing in epileptic seizures

Neurol India. 2002 Mar;50(1):33-6.


Several clinical signs have been described for lateralization and localization of seizure focus in complex partial seizures; however, the specificity of each of these has been widely debated upon. The present study was done to evaluate 'dystonic unilateral limb posturing' and 'versive head movements' for lateralization and localization of epileptic foci in patients with intractable partial complex seizures, being investigated with long term Video-EEG monitoring. Fifteen patients with 46 seizures, studied with long term Video EEG, had either one or both of these signs. The video recordings of the clinical behaviour were noted and later compared with the corresponding EEG. Unilateral dystonic limb posturing and versive head movements had good lateralising value in complex partial seizures, suggestive of temporal lobe origin, contralateral to the seizure focus, with a specificity of 87.5% and 86% respectively. In addition, turning of the whole body to one side was associated with a contralateral seizure focus in 100% cases. Appendicular automatisms were found to be of no lateralising significance, as they occurred on either side with equal frequency. These motor phenomena should, therefore, be enquired about in detail, during history taking for lateralization or localization of seizure focus.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Dystonic Disorders / etiology*
  • Dystonic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / complications*
  • Extremities / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Head / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged