Syncope and seizures: Differential diagnosis and evaluation

Jeffrey W. Britton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Syncope and seizures are common conditions and pose diagnostic challenges for the clinician. The cumulative lifetime incidence of epilepsy is 3 %, and the incidence of a first attack of syncope is 6.2 per 1000 person-years in the general population. Although the underlying pathophysiological processes are distinct, seizures and syncope share some clinical characteristics which may lead to diagnostic confusion. Confounding matters further is the fact that seizures and syncope may coexist in a given patient. For example, some conditions such as prolonged QT syndrome may result in both arrhythmia- associated syncope and seizures, and in some cases, seizures may result in cardiac arrhythmia and syncope. The clinical history, examination, electrocardiography, and combined EEG/ECG telemetry are all helpful in the diagnosis of seizures and syncope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • EEG monitoring
  • Epilepsy
  • Ictal bradycardia
  • Syncope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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