What is the ILAE 5-axis diagnostic scheme for epilepsy?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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In 2001, the ILAE Task Force on Classification and Terminology proposed that rather than revising the entire classifications of seizures (1981) or epilepsy syndromes (1989), a better strategy was to devise a 5-axis diagnostic scheme, as follows [29] :

  • Axis 1: Descriptive ictal terminology

  • Axis 2: Seizure type, from the “List of Epileptic Seizures,” with specific brain location (if known)

  • Axis 3: Syndrome, from the “List of Epilepsy Syndromes”; not always possible

  • Axis 4: Etiology, including specific genetic defects or pathologic substrates

  • Axis 5: Impairment; optional but useful parameter that can be derived from the World Health Organization (WHO) revised International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICIDH-2) impairment classification

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