Postictal But Not Interictal Hemispatial Neglect in Patients with Seizures of Lateralized Onset


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. O. Prilipko at Sleep Clinic, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Road, Stanford, CA 94305-5730, U.S.A. E-mail:


Summary: Purpose: Unilateral spatial neglect, defined as a failure to report, respond, or orient to stimuli that are presented contralaterally, has been widely documented after brain damage to right, and to a lesser degree, left frontotemporoparietal networks. Group studies involving patients with seizures with a lateralized focus have demonstrated transient dysfunctions in memory and language; however, so far, only two case reports have described transient neglect after an epileptic seizure.

Methods: To assess the existence and consistency of this phenomenon, we evaluated 33 epilepsy patients on a line-bisection task in interictal and postictal states as compared with an age- and sex-matched control group.

Results: Spatial neglect, as determined by this test, was found in the postictal but not interictal examination in patients with right parietal epileptic foci and was maximal for the left-positioned lines, whereas no neglect was found in other groups.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that patients with right parietal foci can present a transient neglect phenomenon on the line-bisection task in the postictal period, even in the absence of overt clinical neglect signs. These findings might be useful in establishing the laterality and even localization of epileptic foci based on the postictal neuropsychological evaluation.