Q. Is sudden seizure common in elderly people?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 24, 2015 and last reviewed on: Mar 08, 2021

Hi doctor,

I am an 86 year old healthy male. I had sudden seizures. What is the reason behind it? I have attached my MRI brain with this. Please explain.



Welcome to

I have read through your query and reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity) in detail. Please find my observations below.

There are mild age-related changes like prominent markings on the surface of the brain, prominent ventricles which are fluid spaces and periventricular hyperintensities. This is expected at 86 years of age.

There are few small hyperintensities on T2 and FLAIR (fluid-attenuated inversion recovery) in the white matter which is probably due to small vessel ischemic changes and is acceptable at this age.

Mild bilateral maxillary sinusitis is noted. This is not related to the seizures and is an incidental finding. There is no tumor or bleeding in the brain. There is no obvious acute infarct.

Cerebrovascular disease, infections, primary neurodegenerative disorders, brain tumor, traumatic head injury, stroke, and acute metabolic disturbance are the most common causes of seizures in the elderly and no specific cause has been found in this scan.

Sometimes early scans can be normal. It is important to know if the patient has any medical condition (though it is mentioned normal health) and whether any abnormal laboratory tests have been found.

Seizures can happen due to sudden abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Keeping in mind the seizures it will help to do electroencephalography (EEG) to know the probable site of abnormal brain waves which triggered the seizure.

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