Etiology of seizures in the elderly

Epilepsia. Jul-Aug 1986;27(4):458-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1986.tb03567.x.


Our study covered a 5-year period, and included all patients within a well-defined area who developed seizures after age 60 years. The dominant cause of seizures was a previous stroke, accounting for 32% of all cases. Tumors accounted for 14%, and the cause of seizures remained unknown in 25%. Seizures were recurrent in greater than 80% of patients with first seizure greater than 6 months after stroke. Fifteen of 21 patients with tumors had metastatic tumors. Of the six patients with primary brain tumors, five had malignant gliomas and one had a meningioma. We conclude that epilepsy with onset after age 60 years is more often symptomatic than is epilepsy in younger patients; since seizures were the first sign of a central nervous system (CNS) disease in half of the patients with brain tumors, careful investigation is necessary to reach a correct diagnosis.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Atrophy
  • Brain Diseases / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications