July 19, 2019

Poststroke Seizures May Mimic Stroke Recurrence and Should Be Examined Carefully for Appropriate Treatment

Epileptic seizures with postictal negative symptoms represent 20% of all suspected strokes and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of stroke in any patient presenting with an acute neurological deficit, mostly in absence of convulsions.

Seizures may also occur at stroke onset, and the latter need to be promptly recognized in order to timely administer reperfusion therapies and reduce the risk of irreversible brain injury. Neuroimaging is essential in differentiating between postictal negative symptoms and deficits due to stroke.

Poststroke seizures may worsen or cause the reappearance of neurological deficits and consciousness impairment; they can be also misinterpreted as stroke recurrence and lead to delayed treatment with antiepileptic drugs. It is mandatory to maintain a low threshold for suspecting epileptic seizures, and require appropriate electroencephalographic and neuroimaging investigations to promptly ascertain the etiology of any unexplained change in the neurological status and provide the most adequate treatment.

This article is part of the Special Issue “Seizures & Stroke”.

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