Status cataplecticus misdiagnosed as recurrent syncope

Department of Neurosciences Neurological Division, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.
Neurological Sciences (Impact Factor: 1.45). 12/2008; 28(6):336-8. DOI: 10.1007/s10072-007-0849-2
Source: PubMed


A 76-year-old patient, since the age of 45, presented with frequent attacks often triggered by emotional stimuli and characterised by forward head drop and a fall to the ground without loss of consciousness. Clinically these episodes were misinterpreted as pseudoseizures and treated with clomipramine for more than 20 years. In spite of this chronic therapy, during the last year, the attacks presented with a daily recurrence and, moreover, after arbitrary clomipramine withdrawal, they increased in frequency until they became subcontinuous. Videopolygraphic analysis, multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) association studies were suggestive of narcolepsy and the recurrent episodes, diagnosed as status cataplecticus, recovered after citalopram administration.

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