Seizures in the elderly: development and validation of a diagnostic algorithm. - Inria - Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies du numérique Access content directly
Journal Articles Epilepsy Research Year : 2010

Seizures in the elderly: development and validation of a diagnostic algorithm.


Seizures are frequent in the elderly, but their diagnosis can be challenging. The objective of this work was to develop and validate an expert-based algorithm for the diagnosis of seizures in elderly people. A multidisciplinary group of neurologists and geriatricians developed a diagnostic algorithm using a combination of selected clinical, electroencephalographical and radiological criteria. The algorithm was validated by multicentre retrospective analysis of data of patients referred for specific symptoms and classified by the experts as epileptic patients or not. The algorithm was applied to all the patients, and the diagnosis provided by the algorithm was compared to the clinical diagnosis of the experts. Twenty-nine clinical, electroencephalographical and radiological criteria were selected for the algorithm. According to criteria combination, seizures were classified in four levels of diagnosis: certain, highly probable, possible or improbable. To validate the algorithm, the medical records of 269 elderly patients were analyzed (138 with epileptic seizures, 131 with non-epileptic manifestations). Patients were mainly referred for a transient focal deficit (40%), confusion (38%), unconsciousness (27%). The algorithm best classified certain and probable seizures versus possible and improbable seizures, with 86.2% sensitivity and 67.2% specificity. Using logistical regression, 2 simplified models were developed, the first with 13 criteria (Se 85.5%, Sp 90.1%), and the second with 7 criteria only (Se 84.8%, Sp 88.6%). In conclusion, the present study validated the use of a revised diagnostic algorithm to help diagnosis epileptic seizures in the elderly. A prospective study is planned to further validate this algorithm.


Medical Imaging

Dates and versions

hal-00795769 , version 1 (28-02-2013)



Sophie Dupont, Marc Verny, Sandrine Harston, Leslie Cartz-Piver, Stéphane Schück, et al.. Seizures in the elderly: development and validation of a diagnostic algorithm.. Epilepsy Research, 2010, 89 (2-3), pp.339-48. ⟨10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2010.02.008⟩. ⟨hal-00795769⟩
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