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Emergency Medical Minute


Feb 23, 2021

Contributor:  Jared Scott, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Differential Diagnosis: non-accidental trauma, febrile seizure, meningitis, hyponatremia, epilepsy
  • Convulsions with gastroenteritis is a known entity to cause seizures in infancy
    • Predominantly occurs in ages 6 months to 3 years
    • Occur with diarrheal episodes
    • No electrolyte abnormalities associated with the seizure nor severe dehydration
    • Seizures tend to come in clusters
    • Most have a normal EEG and do not develop epilepsy
    • Reported incidence in gastroenteritis of 1-2% of gastroenteritis
    • Treatment addresses the seizures but long term anti-epileptic drugs are typically not needed


Kang B, Kwon YS. Benign convulsion with mild gastroenteritis. Korean J Pediatr. 2014;57(7):304-309. doi:10.3345/kjp.2014.57.7.304

Ma X, Luan S, Zhao Y, Lv X, Zhang R. Clinical characteristics and follow-up of benign convulsions with mild gastroenteritis among children. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(2):e14082. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000014082

Image credit: Kurt Christensen

Summarized by John Spartz, MS3 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD