Seizure mimics in children: An age-based approach

Rebecca S. Stainman, Eric H. Kossoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: In order to distinguish seizure mimics from seizures in children it is important to clarify the event duration, frequency, semiology, and any precipitating factors. Methodology: This review provides a succinct and up-to-date overview aimed at general and subspecialty non-neurologist pediatric and adolescent health care providers to help guide a diagnostic approach when a child presents with paroxysmal events of unclear etiology. Results: In many cases, seizure mimics are consistently triggered by an event, location, or emotion, and often resolve with distraction or tactile stimulation. Suspicion should be raised for seizures when events occur out of deep sleep, there is a loss of consciousness with the event, movements are not suppressible, and there is a period of fatigue afterword (minutes to hours). Further, a past medical history of developmental delay (e.g. autism), developmental regression, or neurologic injury increases patients’ risk for seizures. Conclusions: Common seizure mimics are highlighted in the age group in which they are most prevalent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100894
JournalCurrent Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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