Regular Article| Volume 8, ISSUE 4, P218-222, June 1999

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Serum prolactin levels after seizure and syncopal attacks

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      Loss of consciousness and falling are the key features of syncope. Common accompaniments include tonic and myoclonic muscle activity, eye deviations, automatisms, vocalizations and hallucinations that may render the distinction from epileptic seizures difficult. The frequently increased levels of serum prolactin (SPRL) were observed immediately after generalized and complex partial seizures. Presumably, the hormone release is caused by the propagation of epileptic activity, usually from the temporal lobe to the hypothalamic pituitary axis. Numerous reports have demonstrated that the post-ictal SPRL level may be used to differentiate between epileptic and syncopal, non-epileptic attacks. In order to confirm the hypothesis, the SPRL levels were measured in patients with compex partial seizures (CPS) and patients with vaso-vagal syncopal attacks (VVS). The SPRL levels were prospectively measured for each patient as soon as possible after the event (within 1 hour), then 1 hour after the first determination and finally blood was sampled 24 hours later. During the study period (18 months), 18 patients with CPS and 15 patients with VVS were investigated in total. The mean values of SPRL levels in both groups were increased immediately after the event (CPS group: 1142 ± 305 mIU/l; VVS group: 874 ± 208 mIU/l). The elevated SPRL levels were found in 14 (78%) patients immediately after CPS and in 9 (60%) patients immediately after VVS. After examining the results of the present study we conclude that the elevated serum prolactin level after an epileptic attack is of no significant value in differential diagnosis between epileptic and vaso-vagal syncopal attacks.




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