My wife is a nurse and we're working on grammar for the next year or two before we travel extensively in Costa Rica. I'm putting together vocab lists and wondering what is more commonly used in a medical setting, "ataque" or "convulsión".

I would love any other medical specific resources you may have as well.

Edit: my apologies for not being specific, I was hoping for the one meaning seizures, sounds like convulsion is the better option.

  • I think the meaning of these two words is different.
    – Charo
    Jun 7, 2020 at 14:34
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    It might help if you said what you think they both mean.
    – mdewey
    Jun 7, 2020 at 15:21
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    You might want to add infarto to your question. If I understand it right it's more broad than the English infarction. Jun 7, 2020 at 23:00
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    As @Gustavson points out ataque could be a wide variety of things, even a stroke (ataque cerebrovascular) although the more common form is accidente cerebrovascular. I would suggest the way forward is to look up the English word in Wikipedia and then click on the link down the left hand side which takes you to the corresponding Spanish form. This works less well on the mobile form of the site.
    – mdewey
    Jun 9, 2020 at 9:15
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    I was hoping for the one meaning seizures, sounds like convulsion is the better option: you can say "convulsión" or "ataque (de epilepsia)", but "convulsión" is way more technical. "ataque" will only be understood as a seizure if the epileptic condition is implicit in the context or in the patient's clinical record.
    – Gustavson
    Jun 10, 2020 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


According to Mosby's Medical Dictionary (Spanish-English with E-S/S-E Vocabulary), the preferred term is convulsión.

I would recommend getting a Spanish-English medical dictionary. Mosby's is one of the most commonly used in Mexican faculties of medicine. I bet there're PDF versions somewhere on the internet ;)

S.A, Diccionario Mosby (Inglés-Español, Español-Inglés) de Medicina, Barcelona, Elsevier, 1a ed., 2008.

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