Not Everything That Shakes Is a Seizure: A Case Report

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Abstract

Not everything that shakes is an epileptic seizure. We present a patient who repeatedly exhibited severe shaking at emergence from general anesthesia. Her nonepileptic myoclonus was mistaken for a refractory seizure and treated with benzodiazepines and intravenous anesthetics. The resulting depressed level of consciousness rendered myoclonus clinically indistinguishable from refractory seizures. Over the course of 6 procedures, we found that levetiracetam, a first-line antiepileptic drug, effectively suppressed her myoclonus. The episodic nature of perioperative anesthesia care presents a challenge for differentiating myoclonus from seizure while balancing the concerns raised by different surgical procedures, rare comorbidities, and the subjective patient experience.

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