Actually the classification of seizures changed in July 2017 but I’ve only just been brought up to date by Emily O’Connor, a medical student who writes blog posts for Paediatric Pearls. Here is her article:
In 2017 the International League Against Epilepsy revised their classification of seizure types, with the aim of creating greater flexibility, accuracy and transparency in the naming of seizures. Below, is a brief guide to applying this new approach to classification and a summary of the changes in terminology.
The new approach can be applied by asking two or three questions about the seizure:
- Where was the onset of the seizure?
- It could be: focal/generalised/focal to bilateral/unknown
- What was the patient’s level of awareness during the seizure? – FOR FOCAL SEIZURES ONLY
- It could be: focal aware/focal impaired awareness
- What was the first prominent sign or symptom of the seizure?
- It could be: motor/non-motor
- This can then be further classified according to the specific symptom
This new classification system for seizures has led to a change in some of the traditional terminology used to describe seizure types, the below table shows a summary of these changes:
|Traditional/‘Obsolete’ Term||New/‘Replacement’ Term|
|Partial seizure||Focal seizure|
|Simple partial seizure||Focal aware seizure|
|Complex partial/Dyscognitive seizure||Focal impaired awareness seizure|
|Psychic seizure||Cognitive seizure|
|Primary generalised seizure||Generalised seizure|
|Secondary generalised seizure||Focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizure|
For more information on the ILEA 2017 classification system, please see the below references:
1. Fisher et al. Operational classification of seizure types by the International League Against Epilepsy: Position Paper of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology. Epilepsia. 2017. 58. 4. 522-530.
2. Epilepsy Foundation of America. 2017 Revised Classification of Seizures. [online] Epilepsy Foundation of America. 2017. 18/02/2018. <https://www.epilepsy.com/article/2016/12/2017-revised-classification-seizures>