Glossary of Seizure Disorders

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What is a seizure?
a paroxysmal, uncontrolled electrical discharge of neurons in the brain that interrupts normal function.
Often, what are seizures a sign of?
underlying illness
What metabolic disturbances cause seizures in adults?
* Acidosis
* electrolyte imbalances
* hypoglycemia
* hypoxia
* alchol& barbituate
* dehydration
* water intoxication
What extracranial disorders can cause seizures?
* heart
* lung
* Liver
* Kidney disease
What is it called when the seizure involves the whole brain?
generalized seizure
Scar tissue that develops in the area of the seizure is called?
Because gliosis has developed, what can occur?
additional seizures
Seizures are divided into two major classes. What are they?
generalized and partial seizures
What type of seizure is preceded by an aura or warning?
Partial seizure
What type of seizure is a tonic-clonic seizure?
Generalized seizure
What type of seizure is a Typical Absence seizure?
Generalized seizure
Absence seizures are also referred to as?
Petit Mal seizures
What type of seizure is a Atypical Absence seizure?
Generalized seizure
What type of seizure is a Myoclonic seizure?
Generalized seizure
What type of seizure is a Akinetic seizure?
Generalized seizure
Partial seizures are divided into two categories. What are they?
1. Simple partial seizure
2. Complex partial seizure
Manifestations of a Tonic-clonic (generalized) seizure may include?
* Falling to the ground
* Stiffening of the body
* Jerking of the extremities
* Cyanosis
* Excessive salivation
* Tongue/cheek biting
* Incontinence
In the postictal phase of a Tonic-clonic seizure, how does the patient feel?
* Muscle soreness
* Very tired
* May sleep for several
* Patient has no memory of
Absence/Petit Mal (generalized) seizure usually occur in children or adults?
Children. Rarely do they continue beyond adolescence.
Manifestations of absence/Petit Mal seizures include what?
* Brief staring spells
lasting only a few
Manifestations of an atypical absence (generalized) seizure include what?
* brief warning
* peculiar behavior during
the seizure
* Confusion after seizure
A myoclonic (generalized) seizure is characterized by what?
* Sudden, excessive jerk of
the body or extremities
* The jerk may be forceful
enough to hurl person to
* Seizures are brief and
may occur in clusters.
Causes of Tonic-Clonic seizures include?
* Head Trauma
* Overdose of drugs or
withdrawal of drugs
* Infectious Process
(meningitis, septicemia,
* Intracranial events
tumors, hemorrhage,
* metabolic imbalances
* Medical disorders
The term "akinetic" refers to what?
Arrest of movement
The term "atonic" refers to what?
loss of tone
The term "astatic" refers to what?
Loss of balance
Akinetic, atonic, and astatic are terms used to describe dropt attacks or falling spells. What are these types of patients at a greater risk for?
Head injury. Pts. are encouraged to wear helmets
What do simple partial seizures involve?
They involve motor, sensory
What do complex partial seizures involve?
They involve a variety of behavioral, emotional, affective, and cognitive function.
The location of the complex partial seizure is normal located where in the brain?
Temporal lobe
Partial Seizures can be confined to one side of the brain and remain partial or focal in nature. They also can spread and involve the entire brain. This is called?
A generalized tonic-clonic siezure.
Complex partial seizures/temporal seizures manifest how?
* clouding of consciousness
* Confused state without
any motor or sensory
How do complex partial seizures differ from simple partial seizures?
They involve some alteration in consciousness.
Complex partial seizures/temporal seizures involving confusion without any motor or sensory components is sometimes called?
Temporal lobe absence
The most complex partial seizur involves what?
* lip smacking and
automatisms (repetitive
movements that may not be
* These are also called
psychomotor seizures
Manifestations of psychomotor/automatisms seizures (aka, complex partial seizures) are?
* Continuation of activity
before seizure started.
* picking at clothing
* fumbling with objects
(real or imaginary)
* simply wallking away
Psychosensory symptoms that may occur during a complex partial seizure include:
* distortions of visual or
auditory sensations and
* there may be alterations
in memory (such as deja
* Alterations in thought
* Alterations in sexual
drive or erectile
What is "Status epilepticus"?
A state of continuous seizure activity or a condition in which seizures recur in rapid succession without return to consciousness between seizures.
Status epilepticus can involve what?
* Any type of seizure
* It is the most serious
complication of epilepsy
* It is a neurologic
Status epilepticus is a neurologic emergency why?
Can cause:
* ventilatory insufficiency
* hypoxemia
* Permanent brain damage
* cardiac arrhythmias
* hyperthermia
* Systemic acidosis
* can be fatal
Nursing implications for a patient with status epilepticus is?
* ABC's
* Protect from injury
* Pts. will be given IV
valium, ativan,
phenobarbital, dilantin
How long does a patient have to be seizure free before being able to drive?
one full year

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