CASE HISTORY – February 2009

Transient epileptic amnesia: a case report


Articles PDF


We report a case of a 62-year-old woman who complained of „memory gaps”. The attacks appeared about once a month and lasted from a few minutes to a few hours. In addition, the patient’s husband described frequent episodes lasting seconds, where the patient stared at a vacant point and her speech was disturbed. Both of these complaints dated back to about 2 years. MRI scan of the head, SPECT scan, routine EEG recording and Mini Mental State Examination showed no pathology. During a videotelemetric EEG study four complex partial seizures were registered. The diagnosis of epilepsy was made: the patient suffered from transient epileptic amnesia (TEA) accompanied by complex partial seizures. Antiepileptic treatment with carbamazepine was started. Several authors have proposed that episodes of transient amnesia can be a manifestation, sometimes the sole manifestation, of epilepsy. Various terms have been used to describe these attacks including transient epileptic amnesia (TEA). The proposed diagnostic criteria to make the diagnosis of TEA are the following: history of recurrent witnessed episodes of transient amnesia; cognitive functions other than memory judged to be intact during typical episodes; evidence of the diagnosis of epilepsy (EEG, effectivness of antiepileptic drugs).