Investigating seizures (summary)

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Derek Smith et al.
This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists

Seizures are a common medical emergency and presentation to emergency departments 1-3. All new seizures or changes in seizure activity merit assessment with neurologists, and usually require neuroimaging 3,4. They can be distressing to witness for patient, families and clinicians and can be caused by a number of factors.

Reference article

This is a summary article; read more in our article on epilepsy.

  • questions
    • was the seizure focal or generalised?
    • has the patient had an EEG - what was the result?
    • any of the following?
      • new focal neurology deficits
      • persistent altered consciousness/confusion
      • fever
      • persistent headache
      • medical history (malignancy, AIDS, previous neurosurgery)
      • use of anticoagulants
  • investigations
    • CT head
      • acute presentation
        • new seizure
        • different seizure behaviour
    • MRI brain
      • hasn't been previously investigated
      • change in seizure semiology
      • follow up of underlying tumour
  • making the request
    • why is imaging required?
    • what is the relative urgency?
      • why does it need to be done now?
    • what lateralising features are there (clinical or investigations)?
  • common pathology
Medical student radiology curriculum
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Article information

rID: 37249
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Seizures (basic)

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Cases and figures

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    Case 2: glioblastoma
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    Case 1: right MCA Infarction
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    Case 3: subarachnoid haemorrhage
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    Case 4: dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour
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    Left vagal nerve ...
    Case 5: vagal nerve stimulator
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