Seizures and Status Epilepticus

  • Larry E. DavisEmail author
  • Sarah Pirio Richardson


This chapter begins with a discussion that a seizure can have many causes such as metabolic derangements (severe hypoglycemia), infections (encephalitis or from high fever), drugs (amphetamines), drug-withdrawal (alcohol), genetic, or idiopathic. Next, the chapter describes the epidemiology of epilepsy, the pathophysiology of a seizure, and the value of an electroencephalogram in diagnosing seizures. The seizure classification system is then covered and its distinction from non-seizure events such as syncope, migraine, transient ischemic attack, psychogenic nonepileptic seizure, rage attacks, Meniere’s disease attack, and movement disorders. This chapter finishes with a complete description of focal seizures, generalized convulsive seizures (Grand Mal), absence seizures (Petit Mal), West’s syndrome, and status epilepticus. Attention is paid to their pathophysiology, major clinical features, major laboratory findings, and principles of management and prognosis.


Seizure Epilepsy Generalized convulsion Focal seizure Absence seizure West’s syndrome Status epilepticus Electroencephalogram Psychogenic nonepileptic seizure 

Recommended Reading

  1. Berg A, Berkovic S, Brodie M et al. Revised terminology and concepts for organization of seizures and epilepsies: report of the ILAE Commission on Classification and Terminology, 2005–2009. Epilepsia 2010;51(4):676 − 85. (Up-to-date classification of seizures and epilepsy)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brophy G, Bell R, Claassen J et al. Guidelines for the evaluation and management of status epilepticus. Neurocritical Care 2012;17(1):3–23. (Current guidelines for the treatment of status epilepticus)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Wiebe S. The epilepsies. In Goldman’s Cecil Medicine, 24th edn. In: Goldman L, Schafer A, editors. 2012:2283–2294. Elsevier Saunders. (A concise overview of seizures and epilepsy)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chief Neurology ServiceDistinguished Professor of Neurology New Mexico VA Health Care SystemAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology Health Sciences CenterUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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