Classification of Epileptic Seizures

The epileptic seizure can be classified into two main categories, i.e., generalized seizures and partial seizures. The difference between these seizures is how and where they start in the brain (see Fig. 4.2). Generalized seizures involve both hemispheres and begin with a widespread electrical discharge at once. However, partial seizures begin with limited area of the brain and may spread to other brain regions. Generalized seizures have further categories such as petit mal, tonic-clonic, myoclonic, and atonic seizures. Partial seizures have also two further categories, i.e., simple partial and complex partial seizures.1

Generalized Seizures

  • • Petit mal: This type of seizure is also known as an absence seizure. The symptom of absence seizure is a brief loss of consciousness. Patients suffering from absence seizures may not be aware that they are having seizures. It may occur several times a day and have an abrupt start and end. Children suffering from absence seizures will stare blankly during seizure activity. The duration of unconsciousness is around a few seconds.1
  • • Tonic-clonic: Tonic-clonic or grand mal seizures cause convulsions, muscle rigidity, and unconsciousness. They are differentiated by stiffening of muscles. A patient may lose consciousness for a small duration of time during the tonic phase. Further, the body of the patient starts shaking and stretching and causes muscular contractions.1
  • • Myoclonic: This kind of seizure causes small jerks on both sides of the body.1 The patients may feel the jerks as brief electrical shocks; if violent, it may result in throwing objects involuntarily.
  • • Atonic: This consists of sudden lack of muscle control especially in the arms and legs and the duration is usually around 15 seconds.1

Partial Seizures

Simple partial seizures: This kind of seizure occurs in just one area. The symptoms of this seizure are muscle contractions, visual disturbances, and blackouts, but for very brief duration, like a minute or less

than a minute. The patients may feel fearful and anxious during partial



• Complex partial seizures: In complex partial seizures, the patients may suffer from loss of consciousness and the duration of seizures may be around a minute or two. The patients may feel uneasiness or nausea before the seizure activity.1

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >