Video-EEG study of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures: Differential characteristics in patients with and without epilepsy

Francesco Mari, Carlo Di Bonaventura, Nicola Vanacore, Jinane Fattouch, Anna Elisabetta Vaudano, Gabriella Egeo, Alfredo Berardelli, Mario Manfredi, Massimiliano Prencipe, Anna Teresa Giallonardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) are episodes that may resemble epileptic seizures (ES) but are not associated with abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. Video-EEG recording of a typical episode is considered the best diagnostic tool available. PNES are, however, also documented in patients with epilepsy (PNES/ES). The purpose of this study was to assess this comorbid population, focusing on the differences between patients with PNES/ES and patients with PNES alone. Methods: We reviewed 110 PNES episodes, occurring spontaneously or induced by means of suggestion techniques, recorded in our video-EEG laboratory over a period of eight years. We identified two subgroups of patients, consisting of 85 PNES cases and 25 PNES/ES cases, and assessed any differences in their characteristics by reviewing a number of variables (age, sex, clinical features, antiepileptic therapy, age of onset, time to diagnosis, pathological history, and length of follow-up). Results: The comparison between the two subgroups revealed that PNES/ES patients displayed some statistically significant differences when compared with PNES alone patients, i.e., younger age, a higher percentage of spontaneously activated events, a shorter disease duration, a longer time to PNES diagnosis, and a lower percentage lost at follow-up. Conclusions: This study confirms that PNES is a common, though probably underestimated, occurrence in epilepsy services. Our results shed light on some different characteristics between PNES and PNES/ES patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-67
Number of pages4
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Epilepsy
  • Pseudo-seizures
  • Psychogenic seizures
  • Video-EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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