Ictal crying

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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Epilepsy and Behavior, Volume 59, June 2016, Pages 1-3.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2016.03.012. Copyright © Elsevier


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to describe a series of patients with ictal crying to estimate its occurrence and characterize the clinical features and the underlying etiology.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all the long-term video-EEG reports from Jefferson Comprehensive Epilepsy Center over a 12-year period (2004-2015) for the occurrence of the terms "cry" or "sob" or "weep" in the text body. All the extracted reports were reviewed, and patients with at least one episode of documented ictal crying at the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) were included in the study.

RESULTS: During the study period, 5133 patients were investigated at our EMU. Thirty-two patients (0.6%) had at least one documented seizure accompanied by crying. Twenty-seven patients (26 women and one man) had psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), and five patients (0.1%) had epilepsy. Among patients with epileptic ictal crying, four patients had focal epilepsy (two had definite, and two had probable frontal lobe epilepsy), while one patient had Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

CONCLUSION: Ictal crying is a rare finding among patients evaluated at the EMUs. The most common underlying etiology for ictal crying is PNES. However, ictal crying is not a specific sign for PNES. Epileptic ictal crying is often a rare type of partial seizure in patients with focal epilepsy. Dacrystic seizures do not provide clinical value in predicting localization of the epileptogenic zone.

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