Objective. Paroxysmal nonepileptic events (PNEs) are frequently encountered in children and adolescents; however, there is little information concerning the relative frequency of various types of these disorders. We report our experience with PNEs in a group of children and adolescents who underwent prolonged video-electroencephalographic monitoring.
Methods. During a 6-year period, 883 patients were monitored in the Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and 134 patients (15.2%) were documented to have PNEs on the basis of a typical spell recorded during monitoring. Their hospital charts were reviewed and videotapes of these events were analyzed.
Results. Patients were divided into 3 age groups: 1) the Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Group (2 months–5 years) that comprised 26 patients. The most common diagnoses were stereotyped movements, hypnic jerks, parasomnias, and Sandifer syndrome. Concomitant epilepsy was present in 12 patients (46%). 2) The School-Age Group (5–12 years) consisted of 61 patients. The most frequent diagnoses were conversion disorder (psychogenic seizures), inattention or daydreaming, stereotyped movements, hypnic jerks, and paroxysmal movement disorders. Fifteen patients (25%) had concomitant epilepsy. 3) The Adolescent Group (12–18 years) consisted of 48 patients, of whom 40 patients (83%) were diagnosed with conversion disorder. Nine patients (19%) had concomitant epilepsy.
Conclusions. In our patients with PNEs, conversion disorder was seen in children >5 years old and its frequency increased with age, becoming the most common type of PNEs among adolescents. In adolescents, conversion disorder was more common in females, whereas males predominated in the school-aged group. Concomitant epilepsy with nonepileptic events occurred in all 3 age groups to a varying extent.
- Received February 15, 2002.
- Accepted June 7, 2002.
- Copyright © 2002 by the American Academy of Pediatrics