Perspectives on seizure clusters: Gaps in lexicon, awareness, and treatment

Janice Buelow, Patricia Shafer, Ruth Shinnar, Joan Austin, Sandra Dewar, Lucretia Long, Kathryn O'Hara, Nancy Santilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Seizure clusters in epilepsy can result in serious outcomes such as missed work or school, postictal psychosis, emergency room visits, or hospitalizations, and yet they are often not included in discussions between health-care professionals (HCPs) and their patients. The purpose of this paper was to describe and compare consumer (patient and caregivers) and professional understanding of seizure clusters and to describe how consumers and HCPs communicate regarding seizure clusters. We reviewed social media discussion sites to explore consumers' understanding of seizure clusters. We analyzed professional (medical) literature to explore the HCPs' understanding of seizure clusters. Major themes were revealed in one or both groups, including: communication about diagnosis; frequency, duration, and time frame; seizure type and pattern; severity; and self-management. When comparing discussions of professionals and consumers, both consumers and clinicians discussed the definition of seizure clusters. Discussions of HCPs were understandably clinically focused, and consumer discussions reflected the experience of seizure clusters; however, both groups struggled with a common lexicon. Seizure cluster events remain a problem associated with serious outcomes. Herein, we outline the lack of a common understanding and recommend the development of a common lexicon to improve communication regarding seizure clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Epilepsy
  • Seizure
  • Seizure cluster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology

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    Buelow, J., Shafer, P., Shinnar, R., Austin, J., Dewar, S., Long, L., O'Hara, K., & Santilli, N. (2016). Perspectives on seizure clusters: Gaps in lexicon, awareness, and treatment. Epilepsy and Behavior, 57, 16-22.