John Libbey Eurotext

Vasovagal syncope misdiagnosed as epilepsy for 17 years: prime importance of clinical history Volume 8, issue 3, September 2006


  • Vasovagal syncope misdiagnosed as epilepsy for 17 years : prime importance of clinical history


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Neurology Department, Cardiology Department, Henry Ford Hospital, HFHS, USA

Distinguishing epilepsy from syncope often can be challenging. We report a case of a 20-year-old patient with presumed refractory epilepsy since the age of 3 years. Although the clinical suspicion of syncope was raised at the age of 9 years, key historic features were not identified, cardiac work-up was not pursued and despite lack of electrographic evidence of epilepsy, he received anticonvulsant treatment. During his presurgical evaluation for “refractory epilepsy”, one typical event was captured that was associated with asystole and normal electroencephalogram. The diagnosis of vasodepressor syncope was made and anticonvulsant medication was discontinued. With this case report, we would like to emphasize the importance of a meticulous history and the need to perform continuous video electroencephalographic with simultaneous electrocardiographic recordings in the evaluation of paroxysmal events with atypical presentation. [Published with video sequences]