Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Dec 31, 2022
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

The following conditions should be considered in the assessment of patients with possible generalized tonic-clonic seizures:

  • Hyperventilation and electrolyte imbalances

  • Prolonged QT syndrome and other arrhythmias

  • Dystonias including nocturnal paroxysmal dystonias

  • Paroxysmal dyskinesias [3]

  • Encephalopathies and metabolic disorders

  • Pseudoepileptic seizures or nonepileptic seizures

  • Nocturnal paroxysmal events (eg, sleep apnea, night terrors) [3]

  • Paroxysmal abnormalities of tone (eg, opisthotonic posturing and clonus)

  • In infants, apneic syndromes including gastroesophageal reflux and jitteriness of the newborn

  • In toddlers and young school-aged children, simple faints and breath-holding spells [3]

Go to Epilepsy and Seizures, First Adult Seizure, and First Pediatric Seizure for an overview of these topics.

Differential Diagnoses