April 1954


Author Affiliations


From the Sections of Neurology and Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1954;93(4):481-493. doi:10.1001/archinte.1954.00240280001001

GASTROINTESTINAL, genitourinary, and cardiorespiratory symptoms may occur as presenting complaints in patients who have epileptic disorders. These symptoms are often misunderstood, and localized visceral disease may be diagnosed or the bizarre nature of the complaints may lead to the diagnosis of a psychiatric condition. The prompt recognition and differentiation of these symptoms are of great therapeutic significance.

The presence of visceral symptoms as a manifestation of convulsive disorders has long been recognized. Morgagni,1 in his textbook published in 1769, reported the case of a 68-year-old priest whose epileptic attacks began with pain in the right hypochondrium followed by nausea and vomiting. Trousseau,2 in his textbook published in 1873, described in great detail the symptoms of visceral epilepsy and its differential diagnosis from cardiac and abdominal disease. Jackson3 discussed the visceral manifestations of epilepsy. More recently, Penfield and Kristiansen4 have demonstrated that such symptoms may result from localized irritation of the

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