Non-epileptic paroxysmal events at pediatric video-electroencephalography monitoring unit over a 15-year period


Seizure, vol.108, pp.89-95, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 108
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.seizure.2023.04.016
  • Journal Name: Seizure
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.89-95
  • Keywords: Non-epileptic paroxysmal events, Pediatric patients, Video-EEG monitoring
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: Non-epileptic paroxysmal events (NEPEs) are common in pediatric patients and may be misdiagnosed as epileptic seizures. We aimed to study the distribution of NEPEs across age groups and with different comorbidities, and to correlate the patients' presenting symptoms with their final diagnosis after video-EEG. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed video-EEG recordings of children aged one month to 18 years who were admitted between March 2005 and March 2020. Patients who experienced any NEPE while under video-EEG monitorization were evaluated in this study. Subjects with concomitant epilepsy were also included. The patients were first divided into 14 groups according to the basic characteristics of symptoms they reported at admission. The events captured on video-EEG were then classified into six NEPE categories based on the nature of the events. These groups were compared according to video-EEG results. Results: We retrospectively evaluated 1338 records of 1173 patients. The final diagnosis was non-epileptic paroxysmal event in 226 (19.3%) of 1173 patients. The mean age of the patients was 105.4 ± 64.4 months at the time of the monitoring. The presenting symptoms were motor in 149/226 (65.9%) patients, with jerking being the most common (n = 40, 17.7%). Based on video-EEG, the most common NEPE was psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) (n = 66, 29.2%), and the most common PNES subtype was major motor movements (n = 19/66, 28.8%). Movement disorders (n = 46, 20.4%) were the second most common NEPE and the most common NEPE (n = 21/60, 35%) in children with developmental delay (n = 60). Other common NEPEs were physiological motor movements during sleep (n = 33, 14.6%), normal behavioral events (n = 31, 13.7%), and sleep disorders (n = 15, 6.6%). Almost half of the patients had a prior diagnosis of epilepsy (n = 105, 46.5%). Following the diagnosis of NEPE, antiseizure medication (ASM) was discontinued in 56 (24.8%) patients. Conclusion: Non-epileptiform paroxysmal events can be difficult to distinguish from epileptic seizures in children, especially in patients with developmental delay, epilepsy, abnormal interictal EEG, or abnormal MRI findings. Correct diagnosis of NEPEs by video-EEG prevents unnecessary ASM exposure in children and guides appropriate management of NEPEs.