Seizures in a 42-Year-Old Who Left a Hospital Against Advice

Alfredo Musumeci, MD, PhD; Michele Alzetta, MD


December 14, 2021

Editor's Note:
The Case Challenge series includes difficult-to-diagnose conditions, some of which are not frequently encountered by most clinicians but are nonetheless important to accurately recognize. Test your diagnostic and treatment skills using the following patient scenario and corresponding questions. If you have a case that you would like to suggest for a future Case Challenge, please contact us.


A 42-year-old comatose man is brought to the emergency department (ED) by ambulance. He had recently been hospitalized for decompensated hepatitis C virus liver cirrhosis at another hospital, from which he left against medical advice. In the hours before admission to the ED, the patient experienced two witnessed episodes of loss of consciousness associated with urinary incontinence and myoclonic jerks.

The patient's prescribed medications include abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine daily for HIV infection. He also takes furosemide (50 mg), potassium canrenoate (an aldosterone antagonist), lorazepam, and methadone (90 mg); the latter is for the management of heroin addiction.


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