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August 1992

The National General Practice Study of Epilepsy: The Syndromic Classification of the International League Against Epilepsy Applied to Epilepsy in a General Population

Author Affiliations

From the Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy, Buckinghamshire, England.

Arch Neurol. 1992;49(8):801-808. doi:10.1001/archneur.1992.00530320025008

• In this prospective, population-based study of 594 cases of newly diagnosed epilepsy, proportions in categories as defined by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) were as follows: (1) localization-related epilepsies: 1.1* idiopathic, 1.2%; 1.2* symptomatic, 16.2%; and 1.3 cryptogenic, 24.6%; (2) generalized epilepsies: 2.1* idiopathic (idiopathic generalized epilepsy) with 3-Hz spike and wave: absence epilepsy, 2.2%;juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, 1.5%; and nonspecific idiopathic generalized epilepsy, 5.6%; 2.3.1* symptomatic generalized epilepsies, 1.5%; 2.3.2* specific syndromes with generalized epilepsy, 0.3%; 3.2 seizures without unequivocal focal or generalized features, 32%; 4.1 situation-related syndromes, isolated seizures, 9.9%; seizures due to acute toxic or metabolic cause,* 4.5%. Only 33.6% were in diagnostic ILAE categories (asterisks) and many rare syndromes were not represented. The remainder (66.4%) were in various nonspecific categories. Only 24% of localization-related epilepsies could be clinically localized to a single ILAE-proposed site of origin and of these best localized cases, 14% had strongly discordant imaging or electroencephalograms. These major problems in applying the ILAE classification to epilepsy in the general population and its underemphasis of modern imaging techniques are discussed.