Absence epilepsy: Characteristics, pathophysiology, attention impairments, and the related risk of accidents. A narrative review

Valentina Barone*, Michel J.A.M. van Putten*, Gerhard H. Visser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Absence epilepsy (AE) is related to both cognitive and physical impairments. In this narrative review, we critically discuss the pathophysiology of AE and the impairment of attention in children and adolescents with AE. In particular, we contextualize the attentive dysfunctions of AE with the associated risks, such as accidental injuries. Data source: An extensive literature search on attention deficits and the rate of accidental injuries in AE was run. The search was conducted on Scopus, Pubmed, and the online libraries of the University of Twente and Maastricht University. Relevant references of the included articles were added. Retrospective and prospective studies, case reports, meta-analysis, and narrative reviews were included. Only studies written in English were considered. Date of last search is February 2020. The keywords used were “absence epilepsy” AND “attention”/“awareness”, “absence epilepsy” AND “accidental injuries”/“accident*”/“injuries”. Results: Ten retrospective and two prospective studies on cognition and AE were fully screened. Seventeen papers explicitly referring to attention in AE were reviewed. Just one paper was found to specifically focus on accidental injuries and AE, while twelve studies generally referring to epilepsy syndromes – among which AE – and related accidents were included. Conclusion: Absence epilepsy and attention deficits show some patterns of pathophysiological association. This relation may account for dysfunctions in everyday activities in the pediatric population. Particular metrics, such as the risk related to biking in children with AE, should be used in future studies to address the problem in a novel way and to impact clinical indications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107342
JournalEpilepsy & behavior
Early online date27 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Absence seizures
  • Accident
  • Attention
  • Injury
  • Absence epilepsy


Dive into the research topics of 'Absence epilepsy: Characteristics, pathophysiology, attention impairments, and the related risk of accidents. A narrative review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this