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Research Database PMU-SQQUID

Gyratory seizures revisited: a video-EEG study.
Dobesberger, J; Walser, G; Embacher, N; Unterberger, I; Luef, G; Bauer, G; Benke, T; Bartha, L; Ortler, M; Trinka, E;
Neurology. 2005; 64(11): 1884-1887.
Full papers/articles (Journal)


Dobesberger Judith
Trinka Eugen


Purpose: Gyratory seizures (GSs) have been rarely described in generalized as well as in focal epilepsies. They were defined as a rotation around the body axis during a seizure for at least 180 degrees. The mechanisms of generation are unknown and have been discussed controversially. The aim of this investigation was to further delineate seizure semiology and assess a possible lateralizing and localizing value of GSs. Methods: The authors screened 277 consecutive patients with intractable epilepsies referred to a University Hospital for presurgical evaluation between 1998 and 2004 for GSs: 169 had temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), 47 frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE), 38 generalized epilepsies (GE), and 23 had extratemporal or multifocal epilepsy. Results: Twelve patients showed gyratory movements in 17 seizures. Eight had FLE and four TLE (p < 0.001). In 58 % (7/12), the gyratory movement was initiated by a forced versive movement of the head followed by a rotation toward the contralateral side of seizure onset. In 42 % (5/12), the gyratory movement was not preceded by a forced head version. In these seizures, the direction of the rotation was toward the side of seizure onset. Conclusions: The direction of rotation lateralizes seizure onset zone in focal epilepsy depending on the seizure evolution: 1) gyratory seizures (GSs) starting with a forced version of the head ensuing into a body rotation lateralize seizure onset zone contralateral to the direction of rotation. 2) In GSs without a preceding gyratory forced head version, the direction of rotation is toward the side of seizure onset. GSs occur more frequently in frontal lobe epilepsy than temporal lobe epilepsy, while none of our patients with GSs had generalized epilepsies.

Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)



Basal Ganglia/physiopathology


Disease Progression





Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic/physiopathology


Head Movements/physiology



Middle Aged

Models, Neurological

Movement Disorders/diagnosis*

Movement Disorders/etiology*

Movement Disorders/physiopathology

Neural Pathways/physiopathology



Video Recording