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Why did my son faint and started to shake suddenly?

Q: Last weekend, my 8-year-old son fainted and started to shake. We took him to the hospital and they ran an ECG, CT scan and blood work, but everything was normal. We are still waiting for the results of the EEG. What other tests should be done to find out why he fainted? He has played hockey in the middle of summer and never fainted, he runs and plays. But that day he was standing and talking to his friends, then suddenly he started to shake and went down.

A:Your son had an event that could be a seizure, a fainting spell or syncope. Since these events don't happen in front of a doctor, the description by people who are witness to the event, is most important. If he had become pale, cold, sweaty, and felt that his vision is blackening and he might fall, then syncope should be suspected. If he started to shake before falling, and there was distortion of his face, with stiffening of the body and jerking, then a seizure would be likely. If his tests including EEG are normal, one may avoid starting any treatment. Because in upto 30-40% patients with a single attack and normal tests, convulsions will not recur. Treatment may be considered in case the attack recurs. Remember, description of the attack is very important.


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