Pediatric-onset psychogenic nonepileptic seizures: A retrospective international multicenter study

Seizure. 2019 Oct:71:56-59. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2019.06.014. Epub 2019 Jun 12.


Purpose: We compared various clinical characteristics of pediatric-onset psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) between patients from five countries. The purpose of this study was to advance our understanding of pediatric-onset PNES cross-culturally.

Methods: In this retrospective study, we compared consecutive patients with PNES with an age at onset of 16 years and younger from epilepsy monitoring units in Iran, Brazil, the USA, Canada, and Venezuela. Age, gender, age at seizure onset, seizure semiology, predisposing factors, and video-EEG recordings of all patients were extracted. Pearson Chi-Square, one-way ANOVA and Bonferroni correction tests were used for statistical analyses.

Results: Two hundred twenty-nine patients were studied (83 from Iran, 50 from Brazil, 39 from Canada, 30 from the USA, and 27 from Venezuela). Mean age at the onset of seizures was 12.1 ± 3.2 years (range: 4-16 years). The sex ratio of the patients was 1.83: 1 (148 females and 81 males). Clinical characteristics of pediatric-onset PNES showed some significant differences among the nations. However, factors associated with pediatric-onset PNES in these five nations were similar.

Conclusion: This study underscores how international cross-cultural studies can make important contributions to our understanding of PNES. Patients with pediatric-onset PNES from different countries were similar on many risk factors associated with PNES. This suggests universality in many features of PNES. However, intriguing differences were also noted with regard to seizure semiology, which might be the result of cultural factors.

Keywords: Cross-cultural; International; Pediatric; Psychogenic; Seizure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Brazil / ethnology
  • Canada / ethnology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / ethnology
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures / ethnology
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / ethnology
  • Somatoform Disorders / physiopathology*
  • United States / ethnology
  • Venezuela / ethnology