Duration of complex partial seizures: an intracranial EEG study

Epilepsia. 2008 Apr;49(4):677-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.01420.x. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


Purpose: The dynamics of partial seizures originating from neocortical and mesial temporal regions are thought to differ, yet there are no quantitative comparative studies. The studies reported here investigate the duration of complex partial seizures in these populations using analyses of seizures recorded from intracranial arrays.

Methods: Data were collected from patients undergoing presurgical evaluation with intracranial electrodes. Seizure duration was defined as the time of earliest sustained ictal activity until the termination either in all electrodes (global duration, GD), or at the onset area (focal duration, FD). Patients were divided into three groups: mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), neocortical temporal lobe epilepsy (NCTLE), and neocortical extratemporal lobe epilepsy (NCXTLE).

Results: Complex partial seizure durations were significantly longer in the MTLE group compared to the NCXTLE group. Median GD for MTLE was 106 s, and for NCXTLE was 78 s. There were no significant differences between seizure durations when comparing MTLE group to NCTLE group, or comparing NCTLE group to NCXTLE group. In the MTLE group, patients with bilateral recording arrays had significantly longer median seizure durations (GD and FD) than those sampled with unilateral arrays.

Conclusions: In this select group of patients there is a significant difference between the duration of complex partial seizures of mesial temporal and neocortical extratemporal origin with mesial temporal complex partial seizures being longer. This may result from a number of possibilities including the bilateral propagation of some mesial temporal seizures and differences in ictal generators of the underlying networks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Neocortex / physiopathology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Preoperative Care
  • Time Factors