Arch Dis Child 91:214-218 doi:10.1136/adc.2004.062455
  • Original article

Diagnoses made in a secondary care “fits, faints, and funny turns” clinic

  1. D Hindley1,
  2. A Ali2,
  3. C Robson2
  1. 1Fairfield General Hospital, Bury, UK
  2. 2University of Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr D Hindley
    Consultant Paediatrician, Halliwell Children’s Centre, Bolton BL1 3SQ, UK; dthindley{at}
  • Accepted 6 April 2005


Aims: To investigate the diagnoses made for children referred to a “fits, faints, and funny turns” clinic.

Methods: Prospective study of 380 children referred to a dedicated secondary care clinic over an eight year period.

Results: Twenty three per cent of children were given a final diagnosis of one of the childhood epilepsies, with 48% of these having a specific epilepsy syndrome. Syncope was the commonest cause of a non-epileptic event (syncope and reflex anoxic seizures comprised 100/238, 42%) but there were a wide variety of other causes. Fifty three events (14%) were unclassified and managed without a diagnostic label or treatment.

Conclusions: In children with funny turns referred to secondary care, the diagnostic possibilities are numerous; among non-epileptic events, syncopes predominate. The majority do not have epilepsy. Unclassifiable events with no clear epileptic or non-epileptic cause are common and can be safely managed expectantly.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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