Multimodal, automated detection of nocturnal motor seizures at home: Is a reliable seizure detector feasible?

Judith van Andel, Constantin Ungureanu, Johan Arends, Francis Tan, Johannes Van Dijk, George Petkov, Stiliyan Kalitzin, Thea Gutter, Al de Weerd, Ben Vledder, Roland Thijs, Ghislaine van Thiel, Kit Roes, Frans Leijten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Automated seizure detection and alarming could improve quality of life and potentially prevent sudden, unexpected death in patients with severe epilepsy. As currently available systems focus on tonic-clonic seizures, we want to detect a broader range of seizure types, including tonic, hypermotor, and clusters of seizures.

Methods: In this multicenter, prospective cohort study, the nonelectroencephalographic (non-EEG) signals heart rate and accelerometry were measured during the night in patients undergoing a diagnostic video-EEG examination. Based on clinical video-EEG data, seizures were classified and categorized as clinically urgent or not. Seizures included for analysis were tonic, tonic-clonic, hypermotor, and clusters of short myoclonic/tonic seizures. Features reflecting physiological changes in heart rate and movement were extracted. Detection algorithms were developed based on stepwise fulfillment of conditions during increases in either feature. A training set was used for development of algorithms, and an independent test set was used for assessing performance.

Results: Ninety-five patients were included, but due to sensor failures, data from only 43 (of whom 23 patients had 86 seizures, representing 402 h of data) could be used for analysis. The algorithms yield acceptable sensitivities, especially for clinically urgent seizures (sensitivity = 71-87%), but produce high false alarm rates (2.3-5.7 per night, positive predictive value = 25-43%). There was a large variation in the number of false alarms per patient.

Significance: It seems feasible to develop a detector with high sensitivity, but false alarm rates are too high for use in clinical practice. For further optimization, personalization of algorithms may be necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-431
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsia Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Accelerometry
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart rate
  • Seizure monitoring
  • Suddenunexpected death in epilepsy
  • Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy


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