How is syncope differentiated from seizures?

Updated: Jan 13, 2017
  • Author: Rumm Morag, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients should be asked to estimate the duration of their loss of consciousness. Syncope is associated with patient estimates ranging from seconds up to 1 minute in most cases. To discriminate from seizures, patients should also be asked if they remember being confused about their surroundings after the event or whether they have oral trauma, incontinence, or myalgias.

A detailed account of the event must also be obtained from any available witnesses. Witnesses can aid the clinician in differentiating among syncope, altered mental status, and seizure.


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