Characteristics of medial temporal lobe epilepsy: I. Results of history and physical examination

Ann Neurol. 1993 Dec;34(6):774-80. doi: 10.1002/ana.410340604.


In order to more precisely define a syndrome of medial temporal lobe epilepsy, histories and physical findings were evaluated in 67 patients studied with intracranial electrodes who had medial temporal seizure onset and became seizure free following temporal lobectomy. Patients with circumscribed, potentially epileptogenic mass lesions were excluded. Fifty-four patients (81%) had histories of convulsions during early childhood or infancy, 52 of which were associated with fever. Complicated febrile seizures occurred in 33 (94%) of the 35 patients in whom detailed descriptions of the febrile seizures were available. Bacterial (5) or viral (2) central central nervous system infections were present in 7 patients with seizures and fevers. Other less common, but probably significant, risk factors included head trauma (10%) and birth trauma (3%). Only 5 patients had no apparent risk factors. The mean age at habitual seizure onset was 9 years. All patients had complex partial seizures, with half having only complex partial seizures. The other half also had secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures, but these were never the predominant seizure type. Only 3 patients had histories of convulsive status epilepticus and no patient had a history of nonconvulsive status epilepticus. All but 3 patients reported auras before some or all of their seizures, with an abdominal visceral sensation being by far the most common type of aura (61%). Of the 60 patients with identified risk factors, all but 2 had an interval between the presumed cerebral insult and the development of habitual seizures, with a mean seizure-free interval of 7.5 years.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / etiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors