The frequency of non-epileptic spells in children: Results of video-EEG monitoring in a tertiary care center

Maria A. Montenegro, Douglas Sproule, Arthur Mandel, Joshua Cappell, Claudia A. Chiriboga, Susan Jacob, Karen Eck, Marc C. Patterson, Cigdem I. Akman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Rationale: The diagnosis of non-epileptic spells (NES) in children can be challenging, even for experienced clinicians. Our objective was to describe the characteristics of such events. Methods: This was a retrospective study conducted from January 2004 to December 2006. Inclusion criteria were age >1 month and <18 years and the diagnosis of NES established by video-EEG monitoring. Results: Among 746 monitored children (1203 recorded video-EEG sessions), 109 (14.6%) had NES. The mean age of patients with NES was 6.6 years (range 0.1-18). Seventy patients were diagnosed with NES alone; the remaining 39 with both NES and epilepsy. Developmental delay was more frequent among patients with a co-morbid diagnosis of epilepsy (p < 0.001). Similar clinical events were reported in both of these groups, save for crying spells/irritability which was more common in children with epilepsy. Frequent manifestations of NES included staring spells in preschool children, crying/irritability, tremor and eye deviation in young children and preschoolers, and limb shaking in adolescents. All of the patients with epilepsy and 19 (27%) of those without epilepsy were receiving antiepileptic drugs. Conclusion: Our data highlights the importance of accurate diagnosis of NES toward the appropriate treatment of affected children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-587
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Childhood
  • Epilepsy
  • Non-epileptic spells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'The frequency of non-epileptic spells in children: Results of video-EEG monitoring in a tertiary care center'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this