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Ettinger AB; Weisbrot DM; Nolan E; Devinsky O
"Postictal symptoms help distinguish patients with epileptic seizures from those with non-epileptic seizures"
Seizure 1999 May; 8(3):149-151
The aim of the study was to assess whether post-ictal symptoms can help distinguish patients who have epileptic seizures from those with non-epileptic seizures (NES). We reviewed the spontaneous responses to the question 'What symptoms do you have after a seizure?' in 16 patients with epileptic seizures (predominantly focal with secondary generalization or generalized tonic-clonic) and 23 NES patients. Six of the 16 patients (38%) vs. only one of 23 NES patients (4.3%) noted post-ictal headache (P = 0.008). Nine epilepsy patients (56%) vs. three NES patients (13%) reported post-ictal fatigue (P = 0.004). Confusion or other symptoms did not distinguish epilepsy patients from those with NES. All epilepsy patients had at least one post-ictal symptom while 12 NES patients (52%) had none (P = 0.001). Therefore, patients evaluated for epileptic vs. non-epileptic seizures who have post-ictal fatigue or headache, are more likely to have epileptic seizures. Patients with a diagnosis of NES who note post-ictal fatigue or headache should be investigated further

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