Ictal grasping: Prevalence and characteristics in seizures with different semiology

Elena Gardella, Guido Rubboli, Carlo Alberto Tassinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate ictal grasping (IG), defined as the act of gripping something firmly during focal epileptic seizures, and to evaluate whether it characterizes specific seizure types. Methods: We analyzed the video-recordings of 694 seizures in 109 consecutive candidates to epilepsy surgery. Seizures with motor manifestations (n = 511) were selected and divided into four semiological groups: (a) frontal "hyperkinetic" seizures (FHS): 30 seizures, 12 patients, (b) frontal lobe seizures (FLS) other than FHS: 228 seizures, 26 patients, (c) temporal lobe seizures (TLS): 194 seizures, 55 patients, (d) extra-frontal/extra-temporal seizures (EF/ETS): 59 seizures, 16 patients. We evaluated IG features by means of video-analysis. Results: IG was observed in 96.7% of FHS (100% of patients), with a mean latency of 3 s, and a mean prevalence of 7.9 IG per seizure, directed to a limited number of surrounding objects or body parts. In 22.4% of FLS (11.5% of patients) 1-3 prolonged IGs were present, with a mean latency of 2 s and mainly directed to a fixed external point. IG was occasionally present in TLS (10.3%, in 20% of patients) and EF/ETS (5.1%, in 12.5% of patients), with longer latencies and without any stereotypy. We did not find a reliable lateralizing value of IG. Conclusions: Prevalence of IG in FHS was significantly higher than in other seizure groups. In FHS and FLS, IG had shorter latency and stereotyped features, characterizing an automatic ("release"?) behavior. In extra-frontal seizures, IG seemed to be an occasional purposeful movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Frontal lobe seizures
  • Grasping
  • Ictal semiology
  • Temporal lobe seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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