Paroxysmal non-epileptic events (PNEs) are common, and occur in all age groups ranging from neonates to young adults. The key to diagnosis in the majority is a detailed history and careful observation. However, a few can pose diagnostic challenges for the paediatrician to differentiate them from epileptic seizures. PNEs are usually recurrent, stereotyped and some of them tend to repeatedly occur within the same context. Although the vast majority have a benign nature, they can be a source of parental anxiety, unnecessary investigations and even potentially harmful treatments. In this review, we have described the common PNEs occurring in infants and preschool children. This will be followed by a second review for older children and adolescents. We have provided a practical diagnostic approach by dividing these events into three broad categories: PNEs associated with altered consciousness, PNEs not associated with apparently altered consciousness and sleep-related PNEs.
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