Absence spells. Hyperventilation syndrome as a previously unrecognized cause

Am J Med. 1984 May;76(5):905-9. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(84)91007-6.


Absence spells in adults have been recognized in association with disorders of excessive somnolence, transient ischemia of the temporal lobes, and seizure disorders. A 66-year-old man who presented with a history of absence spells for more than 20 years is described. After diagnosis of a hyperventilation syndrome without an associated seizure disorder, educational and behavioral therapy without the use of medication has produced a long, continuing remission of these spells. The hyperventilation syndrome continues to present in many ways, often without recognition by physicians for prolonged periods. The case presented exemplifies this problem and may be the first report of absence spells caused by hyperventilation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Absence / etiology*
  • Epilepsy, Absence / psychology
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / complications
  • Hyperventilation / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis