Auras in psychogenic nonepileptic seizures.


Neuroscience Research Center, Shiraz Medical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran; Jefferson Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency and characteristics of auras in patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) and to characterize the patients' historical and clinical risk factors that may be associated with such manifestations.
METHODS : In this retrospective database study, all patients with PNES, who were investigated at Shiraz Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, from 2008 until 2018, were studied.
RESULTS : During the study period, 258 patients were investigated. One hundred and seventy-three patients (67.1%) reported having auras. Auras were associated with multiple variables, including sex ratio, history of head injury, ictal injury, and taking antiepileptic drugs, in univariate analyses. We then performed a logistic regression analysis, assessing these four variables. The model that was generated by the regression analysis was significant (p = 0.0001) and could predict the possibility of auras in 72% of the patients. Within the model, sex ratio (OR: 0.498; 95% CI: 0.282-0.878; p = 0.01) and a history of head injury (OR: 0.096; 95% CI: 0.020-0.465; p = 0.004) retained their significance.
CONCLUSIONS : Patients with PNES may frequently report auras including some auras which are often seen in patients with focal epilepsies; as a result, they are at great risk of receiving wrong diagnosis and unnecessary treatments. Health care professionals involved in the management of patients with seizures should be aware of this risk and prescribe an antiepileptic drug only after making a definite diagnosis of epilepsy in a patient with a paroxysmal event.