Clinical significance of bilateral epileptiform discharges in temporal lobe epilepsy


The aim of the current study was to investigate the rate and clinical significance of bitemporal interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) in a large cohort of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).


The data used in this study were collected at the Epilepsy Care Unit, Namazi Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical sciences, Shiraz, Iran, from 2008 to 2020. Inclusion criteria were a confirmed diagnosis of TLE based on the clinical grounds (history and the described seizure semiology) and a 2-hour interictal video-electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring. The EEG recording of each patient included both sleep (about 90 minutes) and wakefulness (about 30 minutes).


532 patients were included in this study [420 patients (79%) had unilateral IEDs, and 112 patients (21%) had bilateral IEDs]. Patients with bilateral IEDs less often had auras with their seizures and had higher frequencies of seizures (as a trend for focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures and significantly in focal seizures with impaired awareness) compared with those who had unilateral IEDs. Patients with bilateral epileptiform discharges showed a trend to experiencing ictal injury more frequently. Brain MRI findings were different between these two groups (p = 0.0001).


It is important to recognize that a patient with TLE has unilateral vs. bilateral IEDs. Bilateral IEDs in a patient with TLE may suggest a more severe disease (with a higher risk for ictal injuries and other significant consequences of frequent seizures). It may also suggest a somewhat different etiology.

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