Electroclinical features of idiopathic generalised epilepsy with persisting absences in adult life

Roberto Michelucci, Guido Rubboli, Daniela Passarelli, Patrizia Riguzzi, Lilia Volpi, Lucio Parmeggiani, Romana Rizzi, Elena Gardella, Carlo Alberto Tassinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives - To describe the electroclinical features of typical absences persisting in adult life. Methods - Twelve adult patients (aged 21 to 56 years) with idiopathic generalised epilepsy featuring typical absences as the prominent clinical feature were studied. All patients underwent a full clinical and neurophysiological investigation including ictal documentation of seizures. Results - Neurological examination and neuroradiological investigations were normal in all cases. Clinical findings included a median age at onset of absences of 14 (range 4-32) years, almost constant tonic-clonic seizures (in 83% of patients), frequent episodes of absence status (in 33% of patients), and associated cognitive or psychiatric disturbances. Interictal EEG findings showed normal background activity, generalised paroxysms of spike waves or polyspike waves, and inconstant focal spikes (in five patients); runs of polyspikes were seen during non-REM sleep. Ictal EEG findings showed generalised spike waves at 3 Hz, sometimes preceded by multiple spikes, or more complex EEG patterns with sequences of polyspikes intermingled with spike waves or polyspike waves, showing discharge firagmentation or variation of intradischarge frequency. Conclusion - The results of the present study show that absences persisting in adult life may show particular clinical and EEG patterns, distinct from those in childhood or adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


  • Adults
  • Idiopathic generalised epilepsy
  • Polyspikes
  • Typical absences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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