Clinical significance of recurrent psychogenic nonepileptic seizure status

J Neurol. 2003 Nov;250(11):1355-62. doi: 10.1007/s00415-003-0224-z.


To explore the clinical significance of a history of recurrent psychogenic nonepileptic seizure status (PNES-status), this study describes the frequency of PNES-status in 85 consecutive PNES patients and examines whether there are relevant differences between patients with a history of recurrent PNES-status and other PNES-patients. PNES patients were also compared with 64 patients with epilepsy. Data were extracted from hospital records and a postal questionnaire (Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology-Basic Questionnaire; Screening for Somatoform Symptoms; Dissociative Experience Scale). Of the PNES-patients, 77.6% reported at least one seizure > 30 minutes (PNES-status), 27 % admission to intensive care with status. 38.8% reported recurrent hospital admissions with status (PNES-status group), the remaining patients served as PNES-controls. The only clinical difference between the two PNES groups was that status patients were younger than PNES-controls (mean age 20.3 vs. 30.3 years, p = 0.001). Our results suggest that PNES status is common and often unrecognised. There were no substantial psychometric differences between patients with recurrent PNES-status and other PNES patients although both PNES-groups had more abnormal somatisation, dissociation and personality scores than patients with epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epilepsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Recurrence
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Seizures / psychology*