Sensory symptoms include the following:
While unconscious, the patient may have "vacant" or "frightened" look and may have signs and symptoms of a simple partial seizure. Loss of consciousness distinguishes complex partial seizures from simple partial seizures. Automatisms may occur during unconsciousness.
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There are five types of automatisms:
They may begin with aura, but patients often do not remember this phase. The tonic phase consists of the following:. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures may begin as simple or complex partial seizures.
Absence seizures are generalized seizures that have a rapid onset and are characterized by the following:. This type affects children.
Psychic symptoms include the following:
The onset may be so sudden that the patient falls to the ground, or so subtle that the seizure looks like a tremor. These brief seizures cause a sudden onset of muscle contractions that may occur throughout the body or may be limited to certain areas of the body (e.g., face, one or more extremities, individual or groups of muscles). The seizure is so brief that it is not known if consciousness is lost.
Signs and symptoms depend on the area of the brain in which seizure activity occurs and on the type of seizure.
This produces rhythmic jerks of the body and head. During the clonic phase, muscles relax compley, then muscle tone returns. In the postictal phase drooling; biting of the tongue, cheek, or lip; and urinary incontinence are common.
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Published: 01 Feb 2002.
Symptoms may be motor, sensory, psychic (states of consciousness), and/or autonomic (involuntary activity controlled by the autonomic nervous system). There is no impairment of consciousness in simple partial seizures. While there is a wide range of potential signs and symptoms, for most patients symptoms are stereotypical.
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Autonomic signs and symptoms include the following:
Motor signs include the following:
When this occurs, they lose postural tone and fall with the sudden onset of unconsciousness. Patients who have had complex partial seizures over a period of years may develop drop attacks.
The seizure usually lasts 5 to 20 minutes. Patients often awaken confused and may sleep or pass directly into sleep without awakening, and may experience prolonged weakness after the event. When the jerking movements stop, the patient may remain unconscious for a period of time.
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2011.