Partial Seizures

In contrast to generalized seizures, partial seizures begin with an abnormal electrical discharge restricted to one region of the brain. Partial seizures are categorized by their effect on consciousness, responsiveness and memory.

Simple Partial Seizure

An episode of altered sensation, cognitive function, or motor activity during which the patient is fully alert. Patients usually call these seizures their “auras” and symptoms vary depending on the brain region involved.

Complex Partial Seizure

An episode of altered behavior, sensation or motor activity during which alertness and responsiveness are also compromised. The motor activity may consist of repetitive automatic movements of the face or limbs, or “automatisms.” Often patients are themselves unaware of these seizures, and thus are surprised when someone tells them that they just had a seizure.

Secondarily Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures

A simple or complex partial seizure can evolve into a tonic-clonic or “grand mal” seizure, indistinguishable from a tonic-clonic seizure with a generalized onse