Investigating seizures (summary)

Last revised by Rohit Sharma on 25 Feb 2024
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 generalized?

    • has the patient had an electroencephalogram (EEG) - what was the result?

    • any of the following?

      • new focal neurology deficits

      • persistent altered consciousness/confusion

      • fever

      • persistent headache

      • medical history (malignancy, immunosuppression, previous neurosurgery)

      • use of anticoagulants

  • investigations

    • CT head

      • acute presentation

        • new seizure

        • different seizure behavior

    • MRI brain

      • has not been previously investigated

      • change in seizure semiology

      • follow-up of underlying tumor

  • making the request

    • why is imaging required?

    • what is the relative urgency?

      • why does it need to be done now?

    • what lateralizing features are there (clinical or investigations)?

  • common pathology

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.