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Recurrent episodes of falls and amnestic confusional states as diagnostic challenge in the elderly


New-onset paroxysmal events in patients over 60 years of age are often diagnostically challenging owing to atypical presentation. Recurrent falls and transient states of confusion are especially common in the elderly population, yet their causes often remain undiagnosed due to concomitant cognitive deficits and motor impairments. We present an elderly patient with newly occurring ‘blackouts’ without obvious triggers and transient states of confusion for which he was amnestic. All neurological exams including brain MRI scan and routine electroencephalography (EEG) were normal. Long-term ECG monitoring using an event recorder captured an asystole during a habitual episode, leading to the diagnosis of syncope and pacemaker implantation. A subsequent video EEG monitoring performed due to ongoing unexplained confusional states revealed both bradycardia and long-lasting confusional states to be caused by unrecognised temporal lobe seizures. Ictal video EEG monitoring may play a crucial role in establishing a diagnosis of atypical temporal lobe seizures in the elderly.

  • epilepsy and seizures

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