What is Panayiotopoulos Syndrome?

Recently, Panayiotopoulos syndrome was mentioned on the GI Listserv as a possible explanation for a child with seizures following vomiting and gagging.  I hope that I was not the only one to wonder what that was.

According to Pediatrics Review Article:

Panayiotopoulos syndrome is a common idiopathic childhood-specific seizure disorder formally recognized by the International League Against Epilepsy. An expert consensus has defined Panayiotopoulos syndrome as “a benign age-related focal seizure disorder occurring in early and mid-childhood. It is characterized by seizures, often prolonged, with predominantly autonomic symptoms, and by an EEG [electroencephalogram] that shows shifting and/or multiple foci, often with occipital predominance.”

Autonomic epileptic seizures and autonomic status epilepticus are the cardinal manifestations of Panayiotopoulos syndrome. Autonomic seizures in Panayiotopoulos syndrome consist of episodes of disturbed autonomic function with emesis as the predominant symptom. Other autonomic manifestations include pallor (or, less often, flushing or cyanosis), mydriasis (or, less often, miosis), cardiorespiratory and thermoregulatory alterations, incontinence of urine and/or feces, hypersalivation, and modifications of intestinal motility.

Bottomline: If a parent is convinced that vomiting or retching is triggering seizures, the child’s neurologist needs to consider this disorder.

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