Attributing seizures to TBI: Validation of a brief patient questionnaire

Martin Salinsky, Karen Parko, Paul Rutecki, Eilis Boudreau, Daniel Storzbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important cause of epilepsy and has also been associated with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES). We designed a brief questionnaire assessing patient beliefs regarding TBI as the cause of their seizures (Patient Seizure Etiology Questionnaire; PSEQ). This study reports content validity for the PSEQ. Methods: Ninety Veterans undergoing comprehensive evaluation at 3 VA epilepsy centers completed the PSEQ, a series of questions regarding possible causes for their seizures, including TBI. The PSEQ was scored as YES vs. NO for TBI as the proposed cause of seizures. For each patient, two expert reviewers independently completed a structured chart review to determine whether TBI was the proposed cause of seizures (n = 180 reviews). Kappa statistic was used to assess agreement between the PSEQ and each chart review and between the PSEQ and combined chart reviews where both reviewers agreed on a TBI seizure etiology. Results: The PSEQ scored higher overall rates for a TBI seizure etiology than did expert chart reviews (40% vs. 28%; p < 0.001). The PSEQ agreed with 82% of 180 independent chart reviews (sensitivity 88%; specificity 79%). Kappa statistic for agreement was 0.60. The two reviewers agreed on a probable TBI seizure etiology for 83% of chart reviews. The PSEQ sensitivity increased to 100% when both reviewers were in agreement. Conclusion: The PSEQ provides a direct, standardized measure of patient beliefs regarding TBI as the cause of their seizures and has moderate-substantial agreement with expert chart reviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-144
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Epilepsy
  • Psychogenic seizures
  • TBI
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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