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September 1974

Stress Convulsions

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Glostrup Hospital, Copenhagen.

Arch Neurol. 1974;31(3):155-159. doi:10.1001/archneur.1974.00490390037002

Of 1,250 patients with convulsive disorders studied during a 13-year period, 37 had convulsive attacks preceded by severe "stress." Follow-up examinations were done 1 to 12 years later on 36 of these patients and 27 children ( ≤ 20 years of age) of 16 of the 36. Patients were 20 to 50 years old, with twice as many men as women. Families of propositi showed increased incidences of febrile convulsions. Familial disposition to epilepsy was not found. One child had paroxysmal changes on an electroencephalogram only during photostimulation. Lack of sleep was the dominating stress factor; mostly "combination stress" was involved. One patient died, two of 36 developed unprovoked convulsions, and 10 experienced recurrence(s) of stress convulsions. Prophylaxis is avoidance of provoking factors; anticonvulsants apparently did not prevent recurrence. The EEG provided no aid in diagnostic evaluation or prognosis.

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