Newly diagnosed psychogenic nonepileptic seizures: health care demand prior to and following diagnosis at a first seizure clinic

Epilepsy Behav. 2012 Jan;23(1):7-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2011.10.009. Epub 2011 Nov 16.


Patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) are heavy users of emergency and nonemergency health care. We performed a 1-year prospective audit of use of a group of PNES-related health care items in patients with newly diagnosed (mean duration: 7.3 months) PNES from PNES onset to diagnosis and from diagnosis to 6 months postdiagnosis. Twenty-eight patients (20 women, age: 34±16 years) were responsible for 14 general practitioner home visits, 31 ambulance calls, 34 emergency department visits, 21 hospital admissions (66 inpatient days), 8 MRI scans, 24 CT scans, 2 standard EEGs, 28 short video EEG recordings, and 5 ambulatory EEG recordings. In the 6 months following diagnosis, there were 2 emergency department visits (94.1% reduction), no hospital admissions (100% reduction), 2 ambulance calls, no general practitioner visits, 1 MRI scan, and no CT scans or EEGs. The immediacy of this marked health care demand reduction suggests that the relationship between presentation of diagnosis and health care demand reduction is causal.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Conversion Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seizures / diagnosis*
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Seizures / therapy
  • Young Adult