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Epilepsy F027

Last amended 
8 September 2022

In this section

Current RMA Instruments
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP
84 of 2022
Balance of Probabilities SOP
85 of 2022
Changes from previous Instruments

SOP Bulletin 232

ICD Coding
  • ICD-10-AM Code: G40
Brief description

This is a neurological disease which manifests with chronic and recurring epileptic seizures. This excludes a single seizure event without any enduring propensity to suffer from future seizures.  See further information, below.

Confirming the diagnosis

Diagnosis is normally based on specialist opinion and imaging of the brain is usually undertaken.

There is a separate SOP for seizure.  The epilepsy SOP applies if there have been at least two seizures, more than 24 hours apart and not due to an acute (short term) precipitating cause, such as a low blood sugar level, high blood calcium level or acute brain hypoxia (decreased oxygen supply) at the time of the seizure.

The seizure SOP applies if:

  • There has only ever been one (epileptic) seizure event (multiple seizures within a 24 hour period = 1 event), or
  • There has been an acute precipitating cause for a seizure.

Both SOPs may apply in the one case:

  • If a claimant has epilepsy (and that SOP applies or has been applied previously), but there is a new seizure event, due to an acute precipitating cause, then the seizure SOP will also apply.
  • Two seizure events, not due to an acute precipitating cause, are required to establish a diagnosis of epilepsy.  If there has been only one such seizure, the seizure SOP applies, if there is subsequently a second such seizure, the diagnosis of epilepsy can then be made and the epilepsy SOP would then apply.  There may be months, years or even decades between such seizures.

The appropriate medical specialist is a neurologist.

Additional diagnoses covered by SOP
  • reflex epilepsy
Conditions that may be covered by SOP (further information required)
  • fits
  • status epilepticus (if first and only fitting episode – use seizure SOP)
Conditions excluded from SOP
  • convulsions associated with: syncope; vertigo; migraine; sleep or movement disorders; or G-force induced loss of consciousness#
  • epileptic seizure occurring acutely in response to an acute precipitating event* - seizure SOP
  • hysterical or psychogenic seizure#
  • seizure occurring from electroconvulsive therapy -  non-SOP if injury or other consequences, otherwise not a disease or injury

* another SOP applies

# non-SOP condition

Clinical onset

Once the diagnosis has been confirmed (with at least two seizure events not due to an acute precipitating cause) the clinical onset can be backdated to the time of the inital such event.

Clinical worsening

The course of the disease is variable, as is the degree to which control can be achieved with appropriate therapy.  Worsening may be evidenced by an increase in frequency or severity of seizures or the need for altered or additional treatment to control seizures.