Which conditions should be considered in the differential diagnoses of epileptic seizures?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Not all “spells” are seizures. (See the Differentials section, below.) Other conditions that should be considered include the following:

  • Syncope (eg, cardiac arrhythmia, vasovagal syncope, dysautonomia)

  • Metabolic conditions (eg, hypoglycemia, hyponatremia)

  • Migraine (eg, migrainous aura, migraine equivalent)

  • Vascular conditions (eg, transient ischemic attacks)

  • Sleep disorders (eg, cataplexy, narcolepsy, night terror)

  • Movement disorders (eg, paroxysmal dyskinesia)

  • Gastrointestinal conditions (eg, esophageal reflux in neonates and infants)

  • Psychiatric conditions (eg, conversion, panic attacks, breath-holding spells, malingering, secondary gain)

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