Differential diagnosis of staring spells in children: A video-EEG study

Lionel Carmant, Uri Kramer, Gregory L. Holmes, Mohamad A. Mikati, James J. Riviello, Sandra L. Helmers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Staring is frequently a nonepileptic manifestation in children. To differentiate epileptic versus nonepileptic staring, we reviewed clinical and video-EEG findings in 143 patients, aged 5 months to 43 years, monitored for staring episodes. In 79 patients staring was of epileptic origin; 46 had partial seizures and 33 atypical absence. Thirty-five had behavioral staring, 8 psychogenic seizures, 1 a migraine equivalent, and in 20 no staring spells were recorded. In all patients with epileptic staring, epilepsy was suspected clinically. Only 22 of the admissions for behavioral staring and 3 for pseudoseizures were to exclude a possible nonepileptic phenomenon. Review of their clinical histories revealed that certain findings strongly support a nonepileptic origin. In conclusion, a careful clinical history will differentiate between epileptic and nonepileptic staring episodes in most patients. Video-monitoring is helpful to adjust treatment or to exclude nonepileptic events in patients with refractory staring spells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-202
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


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