A 3-year-old is rushed to the emergency room due to a seizure. The parents state that the seizure started with a twitch in the fingers and progressed to the arm and face. What type of seizure is the parent describing?


•Partial seizures originate from a specific brain area and often only affect a part of the brain. Clonic jerking may start in the hand or toe and then spread.

•A partial seizure with sensory signs may include numbness, tingling, paresthesia, or pain originating in one area and spreading to other parts of the body.

•Petit mal (absence seizure) is classified as a generalized seizure. They usually last less than 20 seconds and always involve loss of consciousness. Rhythmic blinking and twitching of the mouth or an extremity often indicate a petit mal seizure is starting.

•Typical tonic-clonic seizures are generalized seizures. There is usually 3 stages. 1) Aura--strange, dizzy, ominous feeling that can last minutes or hours. 2) Tonic phase--person loses consciousness and muscles tense. This only lasts a few seconds. 3) Clonic phase-- Muscles contract and relax rapidly in convulsions.

•Status epilepticus refers to a seizure that lasts continuously for more than 5 minutes. Or a series of seizures from which the child does not return to his or her previous level of consciousness. This is a medical emergency.

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