Adult first generalized seizure: etiology, biological tests, EEG, CT scan, in an ED

Am J Emerg Med. 1995 Jan;13(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/0735-6757(95)90229-5.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate adult first seizures in an emergency department by analyzing etiologic and epidemiological data and studying the usefulness of biological screening, electroencephalogram (EEG), and cerebral computed tomography (CT) scan. This was a retrospective study of a 3-year period during which 247 patients were admitted to an emergency department for a first generalized seizure. A CT scan had been performed in 247 patients and an EEG in 209. Etiologies were found to be (1) unknown, (2) alcohol abuse, (3) stroke, and (4) tumor. Early recurrence rate was 18.5%. EEG was of low interest in emergency. The rate of cerebral focal lesions on CT scan was significantly lower when both examination results and EEG were normal. The rate of metabolic abnormalities was 4.9%. It was concluded that (1) a short hospitalization is advisable because of recurrences, (2) recurrence rate does not increase significantly in patients with focal cerebral lesion, (3) metabolic screening is necessary, and (4) CT scan will be an outpatient procedure for most patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emergencies
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed