What Is a Complex-Partial Seizure? | Epilepsy

Speaker 1: Complex partial seizures are different
than generalized seizures. With generalized seizures the electricity
in the whole brain all lights up at once. In complex partial seizures, it starts in
one area of the brain and it can move to another area of the brain. Speaker 2: The EEG is what helps us make this
diagnosis. We can see the seizure start in one area and
then sort of move its way to other areas of the brain. Speaker 1: In partial seizures, the big thing
to remember is they’re focal. They start in one area and move, but there’s
two different kinds of partial seizures. There’s simple or there’s complex. With complex partial seizures there’s some
impairment of consciousness. The person is not alert and talking to you
during the seizure. Speaker 2: I find simple partial seizures
very interesting. It can just be a feeling or a sensation in
the arm. It can be just a weakness or just a little
subtle jerking in the arm. Yet they can be talking to you while it’s
happening and know something is funny, but they are clear and conscious. So simple means consciousness not impaired. Complex means they have some impairment. They can look drunk, zoned out, or spacey. Speaker 1: They can be completely out of it
so these can be people that are walking around mumbling, with lip smacking, weird movements
of their hands. It almost looks like they’re trying to do
something purposeful but you realize, after watching for awhile, that they’re really not
accomplishing anything. They may be trying to open a container and
they just keep trying and trying to open it. You realize after a few minutes that there’s
something wrong. Speaker 2: What did you see at Grand Central
Station? Speaker 1: At Grand Central there was this
man sort of walking around confused for a long period of time with a whole bunch of
police officers following him. They must have thought that he was drunk or
high or something. It became very quickly obvious that he was
fumbling and confused and he was having a prolonged complex partial seizure while he
walked. You can still walk, you can still look as
though you’re having purposeful movements, but you’re really out of it. Speaker 2: It’s important to realize that
because you’re having complex partial seizure, you might not be on the ground jerking and
twitching, like we see with generalized tonic clonic. It can go into that but it doesn’t always. Speaker 1: They can be prolonged. They can go on for a few minutes at a time. Complex partial seizures are ones that start
in one area of the brain. They may or may not spread. There is impairment of consciousness. It can look like people who are confused or
trying to do something purposeful that really is not purposeful. They are just as disabling as big generalized
tonic clonic seizures.


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