partial complex seizures???

Tammy - posted on 12/21/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Any help would be great !! My daughter has partial complex seizures along with some other medical issues. I woulsd like to know what other children's partial complex seizures look like ??? When my daughter has one her hands make a funny athetoid movement and her mouth opens and her head and eyes go up to the left? she can have as many as 40 a day down to maybe 5 a day, we have yet to have a day seizure free. She currently takes topamax and Gabitril, the topamax has worked well for her however the gabitril has not . we are about to start a new med called Lucosimide and take her down off the gabitril, I would like to know what combination of meds has worked for other kids with partial complex seizures and what your child does when he/she has one!! My daughter also does clustering which is many seiizures in a row. please let me know!! any help will be great!!.................................. HAppy Holidays ♥

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Lorraine - posted on 12/23/2009

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I was the one that had partial complex seizures. When I was a child, I had simple seizures and progressed to the complex partial later in life (mid 20's). Topamax is a good drug. My problem was that my body would build immunities to the meds where they would become ineffective. I too had surgery and have been seizure free for 11 years. My final months prior to surgery I was having 70-90 seizures a week. Good Luck. Life can be very productive and full but you need to find "the right mix" for your child...................Happy Holidays

Emily - posted on 05/22/2012

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No, it was my son. He had surgery to remove a cavernous angioma that they determined was causing the seizures. He did still have some seizures after the surgery, but has now been seizure-free nearly four years. Most of the time though, seizures don't have a definite cause like that.

Tracey - posted on 01/13/2010

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Hi Tammy,



I hope some of the information from the following article is of some help. If you would like more information on seizure disorders please feel free to check out the articles on my site at "Epilepsy Awareness 2009". And if you don't see certain information already posted there please just mention it to me and I will do my best to make sure that it gets posted as soon as possible.



Understanding Partial Seizures:



Depending on where a seizure starts in the brain, the partial seizures can affect many of the auditory and motor senses. And people who experience one or more of the symptoms from the partial seizures can also have other types of seizures as well. Sometimes, because one seizure type will follow right into another seizure type, it can be mistaken for one seizure when in fact there can be two or more seizure types that have taken place in the same episode. Below is some information on partial seizures:



SIMPLE PARTIAL SEIZURES



Doctors often divide simple partial seizures into categories depending on the type of symptoms the person experiences:



Motor seizures:

These cause a change in muscle activity. For example, a person may have abnormal movements such as jerking of a finger or stiffening of part of the body. These movements may spread, either staying on one side of the body (opposite the affected area of the brain) or extending to both sides. Other examples are weakness, which can even affect speech, and coordinated actions such as laughter or automatic hand movements. The person may or may not be aware of these movements.



Sensory seizures:

These cause changes in any one of the senses. People with sensory seizures may smell or taste things that aren't there; hear clicking, ringing, or a person's voice when there is no actual sound; or feel a sensation of "pins and needles" or numbness. Seizures may even be painful for some patients. They may feel as if they are floating or spinning in space. They may have visual hallucinations, seeing things that aren't there (a spot of light, a scene with people). They also may experience illusions—distortions of true sensations. For instance, they may believe that a parked car is moving farther away, or that a person's voice is muffled when it's actually clear.



Autonomic seizures:

These cause changes in the part of the nervous system that automatically controls bodily functions. These common seizures may include strange or unpleasant sensations in the stomach, chest, or head; changes in the heart rate or breathing; sweating; or goose bumps.



Psychic seizures:

These seizures change how people think, feel, or experience things. They may have problems with memory, garbled speech, an inability to find the right word, or trouble understanding spoken or written language. They may suddenly feel emotions like fear, depression, or happiness with no outside reason. Some may feel as though they are outside their body or may have feelings of déja vu ("I've been through this before") or jamais vu ("This is new to me"— even though the setting is really familiar).



Who gets them?

Anybody can get them. They may be more likely in people who have had a head injury, brain infection, stroke, or brain tumor but most of the time the cause is unknown.



How long do they last?

Only a short time, usually less than 2 minutes.



What's the outlook?

These seizures often can be controlled by seizure medicines.



What else could it be?

Medical disorders such as, stomach disorders or a pinched nerve can cause some similar symptoms. Hallucinations can accompany psychiatric illness or the use of certain drugs. And some symptoms (such as déja vu) are experienced by almost everyone at some time. Whether the symptoms represent simple partial seizures depends on how often they occur and whether they are associated with other episodic changes or other seizure types.



What are they like?

They are remarkably different from person to person, depending on the part of the brain where they begin. The one thing they all have in common is that the person remains alert and can remember what happens. Here are a couple of experiences:

• I almost enjoy them. The feeling of déja vu, as if I've lived through this moment and I even know what's going to be said next. Everything seems brighter and more alive."

• "It is a pressure that starts in my stomach, then rises to my chest and throat. When it reaches my chest, I smell an unpleasant odor of something burnt. At the same time I feel anxious."

Sometimes the seizure activity spreads to other parts of the brain, so another type of seizure follows the simple partial seizure. This can be a complex partial seizure or a secondarily generalized seizure.



How is the diagnosis made?

A complete medical history and physical examination can help to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms and assess the likelihood of epilepsy.





COMPLEX PARTIAL SEIZURES



These seizures usually start in a small area of the temporal lobe or frontal lobe of the brain. They quickly involve other areas of the brain that affect alertness and awareness. So even though the person's eyes are open and they may make movements that seem to have a purpose, in reality "nobody's home." If the symptoms are subtle, other people may think the person is just daydreaming.



Some people can have seizures of this kind without realizing that anything has happened. Because the seizure can wipe out memories of events just before or after it, however, memory lapses can be a problem.



Some of these seizures (usually ones beginning in the temporal lobe) start with a simple partial seizure. Also called an aura, this warning seizure often includes an odd feeling in the stomach. Then the person loses awareness and stares blankly. Most people move their mouth, pick at the air or their clothing, or perform other purposeless actions. These movements are called "automatisms" (aw-TOM-ah-TIZ-ums). Less often, people may repeat words or phrases, laugh, scream, or cry. Some people do things during these seizures that can be dangerous or embarrassing, such as walking into traffic or taking their clothes off. These people need to take precautions in advance.



Complex partial seizures starting in the frontal lobe tend to be shorter than the ones from the temporal lobe. The seizures that start in the frontal lobe are also more likely to include automatisms like bicycling movements of the legs or pelvic thrusting. Some people will even take off running during these seizures.



Some complex partial seizures turn into secondarily generalized seizures.



How long do they last?

They usually last between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. Afterward, the person may be tired or confused for about 15 minutes and may not be fully normal for hours. The recovery time may be longer for those individuals who experience a convulsive seizure immediately followed by a complex partial seizure.



Who gets them?

Anybody can get them. Though they may be more likely in people who have had a head injury, brain infection, stroke, or brain tumor but most of the time the cause is unknown.



What's the outlook?

As for many other kinds of seizures, the outlook depends on whether the cause is known. They may be outgrown or controlled with medication. If medication is not effective, some can be eliminated by epilepsy surgery.



What else could it be?

Complex partial seizures sometimes resemble daydreaming or absence seizures;



Questions to Ask:



How frequent are the episodes?

Daydreaming: Not frequent.

Complex partial seizures: Rarely more than several times per day or week.

Absence seizures: Could be many times per day.



In what situations do they occur?

Daydreaming: Boring situation.

Partial seizures: Any time, including during physical activity.



Do they begin abruptly?

Daydreaming: No

Partial Seizures: Usually yes. Some complex partial seizures begin slowly with a warning.



Can they be interrupted?

Daydreaming: Yes

Seizures: No



How long do they last?

Daydreaming: Until something interesting happens.

Complex partial seizures: Up to several minutes.

Absence seizures: Rarely more than 15-20 seconds.



Does the person do anything during the episode?

Daydreaming: Probably just stares.

Complex partial seizures: Automatisms are common.

Absence seizures: Just stares.



What is the person like immediately after the episode?

Daydreaming: Alert

Complex partial seizures: Confused.

Absence seizures: Alert.



What are they like?

Here's a typical story: "Harold's spells begin with a warning; he says he's going to have a seizure and usually sits down. If I ask him how he feels, he just says 'I feel it.' Then he makes a funny face, a mixture of surprise and distress. During the seizure he may look at me when I call his name but he never answers. He just stares and makes odd mouth movements, as if he's tasting something. Sometimes he'll grab the arm of the chair and squeeze it. He may also pull at his shirt as though he's picking lint off of it. After a few minutes, when he's coming out of it, he asks a lot of questions. He never remembers his 'warning' or these questions. The seizures make him tired; if he has two in the same day, he often goes to sleep after the second one."



And another story: "Susan's seizures usually occur while she's asleep. She makes a grunting sound, as if she's clearing her throat. Then she'll sit up in bed, open her eyes, and stare. She may clasp her hands together. If I ask her what she's doing, she doesn't answer. After a minute or so, she lies down and goes back to sleep."



How is the diagnosis made?

Careful observation should make the diagnosis pretty certain in most cases.



**The use of anti convusant drugs to gain seizure control is the most respected standard therapy available in most cases; but at the same time, these drugs are extremely individualized in their ability to maintain good seizure control along with quality of life.





**Presented By Tracey Alderson, Administrator, Epilepsy Awareness 2009

**Facts Provided By Epilepsy.com and Tracey Alderson

21 Comments

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User - posted on 10/02/2013

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My son will be 19months and was just diagnosed with complex partial seizures...when it first started in january of 2012 before his first birthday his eyes would roll into the back of his head for just a split second and we were lucky enough to catch it on video, it never bothered with his daily activities...it then turned into eye fluttering then back to rolling and has finally stopped within the past 3 months, he just had a EEG & a MRI, and diagnosed this past tuesday, luckily with the medication Levetiracetam 100 his chance of growing out of them is 90%...he has to take it for 2-3 years and could possibly need speech therapy...

Karen - posted on 05/23/2012

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My daughter also has complex partial seizures, she will stiffen and her eyes move to the right, and one of her hands will move. The last seizure, she picked at the ground but was not responsive. She also makes a sucking noise with her tongue...and she goes pale or blue around the mouth...



She takes 1500 mg of Keppra per day.

Cami - posted on 05/21/2012

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Hi Emily,
You have had brain surgery? If so, what is the risks and you are now seizure free thanks to the surgery?
Thanks for your time, my grandson has simple seizures and nothing really seems to work long term, he is 5 years old.

Cami

Rhonda - posted on 04/05/2011

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How old is your daughter? My son has had this kind of seizure since the age of 7. We have only used topomax for the seizures and he has ADHD. We have used ritilin, concerta, and straterra for the ADHD. Concerta has worked the best with the topomax. He would shake his hands when the seizures were really bad like they were on fire. Once they hit puberty the seizures get better are less noticeable and in some cases stop all together. I would say stay with the topomax increase it maybe and nothing else and see if that helps first before trying a new drug. My son takes 75mg twice a day and now nothing for the ADHD and is doing great we go thursday to see how his EEG is. Get those every 6months to a year they help a lot in knowing how many she is having. My son is 16 now and I hope they are going to tell us Thursday that the seizures are gone or are way down. He was doing 100 and hr when he was first diagnosed. Hope this helps..

Sarah - posted on 03/30/2011

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My son is 10 he was diagnosed a year ago with partial complex seizures he has a tumour on his right temprel lobe which has a shadow over it. He is niw on topamax which has stopped the fits but one time he forgot to take his tablet and he started feeling sick again

Robyn - posted on 03/30/2011

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Lorraine, what type of surgery did you have? My 19 year old has Sotos Syndrome and had a total corpus callosotomy in January of 2010. While the Myoclonic seizures have gone, she is now having partial complex seizures. She is taking Topamax, Banzel and Depakote ER but still has breakthrough seizures. Thanks!

LEKESHIA - posted on 01/26/2010

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HI MY NAME IS LEKESHIA CALDWELL MY DAUGHTER HAS PARTIAL COMPLEX SEIZURES ALSO.SHES HAD THEM FOR THREE YEARS NOW.EVERYTIME SHE HAS ONE ITS JUST LIKE WHEN SHE HAD HER FIRST ONE.SHE USUALLY COMPLAINS ABOUT HER STOMACH OR LEG HURTS.SOMETIMES SHE JUST FALLS IN A DEEP SLEEP OR YOU CAN LOOK IN HER EYES AND NOTHINGS THERE. SHES ON ZONEGRAN 100MG SHE TAKES TWO ON ODD DAYS AND THREE ON EVEN DAYS IM LOST BECAUSE THE MEDS SOMETIMES IT MESSES WITH HER SPEECH AND SHES A VERY SMART GIRL SHES VERY ADVANCE FOR HER AGE. PLEASE HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND THIS CONDITION BETTER MAYBE YOU KNOW SOMETHING THAT I DONT KNOW.

Susan - posted on 01/13/2010

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Hi Tammy,

My daughter also had partial complex seizures. We had an MRI done at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia December 2008. It appears she has an abnormal cluster of cells in her right frontal lobe. She was put on Keppra December 1, 2008, and to date we have had no activity. She also had the hand issue with her eyes going up to the right or left. They lasted about 15 seconds, but seemed like forever. I would talk to your Neurologist about using Keppra. There are minimal to no side effects. She was 4 when they started. She had her first on January 2008, then one February 2008 then nothing until October 2008. If was three to four times a week, and she had a major one the weekend after Thanksgiving 2008. Keppra saved us.

Sue Richmond
sarich99@aol.com

Angela - posted on 01/13/2010

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Hi Tammy, my daughter (4yrs, started when 8 months) has partial complex seizures as well as absence and tonic clonic. With the partial ones she stops still, stares and her right hand tremmors. Sometimes she also wets herself if they last a while. She is taking topomax, clobozam and lamictal, but we are phasing out the lamictal. She is only now having a couple of partial ones a week but a lot more absence ones. We have tried 3 other drugs so it's just a trial and error game to find the right combo for your daughter. Good luck and I hope they settle down soon for her. It's a constant emotional roundabout us parents are on, but surrounded by lots of supportive family and friends, we can get through it. Take care, Ange xo

Amanda - posted on 01/11/2010

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Hi Tammy, My 2yr old daughter has partial complex seizures as well, beginning at 2 months. When she has a seizure, all the muscles in the left side of her body stiffen, causing her left arm to fly out or back and her torso to "jack-knife" (similar to infantile spasms). After 5-45 seconds of that, her muscles often continue to jerk for up to 10 minutes. She has had up to 60 a day, but averages about 15 the past few months. She was seizure free for 5 months with Trileptal & Topamax, but that was a year ago. Whether the combination doesn't work for her or we just can't keep up with her growth rate, I don't know. Her pneuro has recently added Depakote, but its not up to therapeutic levels yet, so we'll see how it goes. I hope you all find a combination that works for her soon! Blessings to you!

Keli - posted on 01/07/2010

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Thank you Jessie G., I will definitely pick up that book & we will continue to discuss all of her possiblities in life. I always tell her that I love her and that I will always be here for her, no matter what. I really appreciate you commenting to me. I don't feel so alone, now that I have this circle of moms. Thanks again! :)

Jessie - posted on 01/07/2010

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I would remind her the car being sold is for her safety. because you love her. I also reccommend reading "seized" by Eve La Plante. Maybe your daughter can read it too. It tells about 4 peoples lives, who have temporal lobe seizures. It shows that these people can be successful in life, but need to be careful, can not drive... each state has different rules. Some states say that after 2 years seizures free someone can drive. So once she finds meds that work she may be driving? I hope you can have a sincere and loving conversation about how much you love her and don't want her to be hurt.

Keli - posted on 01/06/2010

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Hi moms, I have a 19 year old daughter that was just diagnosed with partial complex seizure disorder in June of 2009. Her seizures started Dec. 2008, but we didn't know what she was having. She would stare, her face turns pale, and we doesn't remember anything after the seizure. She gets headaches after having the seizure. This was all very scary, now that she is diagnosed, we are on her second medication to control the seizures. She has memory loss & is having a hard time at county college. The doctor stated on Monday that if this medication doesn't work, then we will talk about her having brain surgery. This is very scary to me. All I can do now is to pray this new medication works. If anyone else is in the same boat as me, please let me know how you are dealing with your child & their situation. I am so lost as to why my child was healthy growing up & now this happens. She bought her first car by herself & she was only allowed to drive for 3 months, until we found out she is having seizures. Now the car is up for sale. She is devistated. What do you say to a 19 year old that is just starting to come into her own & now life is turned upside down?

Jessie - posted on 01/02/2010

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My son Aaron has seizures from encephalitis brain damage at 1 month old. Before taking Keppra, his sleep was terrible, light, and he always awoke in the middle of the night, aggitated, pushing his feet on us, not able to go back to sleep. Some times he was alittle shaky but not gran mal. I believe these were partial complex seizures. He also would talk about the same thing over and over, noone could change the topic. He would walk in circles and repeat a phrase. He has also had staring. He has also had emotional outbursts, with no apparent reason. I read a book called Seized, by Eve La Plante. I found that alot of the temporal lobe seizures, were like my son's partial complex seizures. he does have temporal lobe damage and frontal lobe. I think it helps to know which area of the brain is affected.

Judy - posted on 01/02/2010

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My daughter has partial complex seizures and multi focal seizures. She was having small seizures all through the day where she would stare off for a few seconds and others where she would start speaking jiberish (sp), stare off (usually to the left), and jerk her left side. It would take up to 45 to 60 min. to get her out of these, using a lot of Valium. Those only occurred every 6 months, but were starting to get more frequent, and we never new how much brain damage was going to occur each time. They finally started her on Topamax and Depakot. She has been seizure free for 2 years now!

Hady - posted on 12/27/2009

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my son has several different types of seizures 1 being partial he tends 2 have head drops,mouth twicthing,eyes go up and then after a few secs hes fine again.My son is 11yrs old and was born w/ a medibolic disorder we didnt find out about until he went n2 a medibolic coma and started uncontrolible seizure where n the er he had 2 b put n2 a medicated coma 2 give him a brake from seizures.He since has got a vns 2 control seizures and meds r keppra,primidone,and zonegran witch all n combination seems 2 work really well unless he gets sick or lack of sleep then nothing helps other than diastat if he keeps haveing clustering.hope this helps some.good luck and god bless

Jennifer - posted on 12/22/2009

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i have serizres too and they placed a vns in me, it help because i was having serizures everyday

Emily - posted on 12/21/2009

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My son hasn't had a seizure in over a year (he had partial complex as well), but when he had them, he'd stare into space, often get a look of fear in his eyes, he'd start to drool, his eyes would well up, and when it was really bad his right hand would make pinching motions and the right side of his body would go limp. When it was the worst, he had over 30 seizures in one day. We were able to get them controlled with phenobarb... and then he had surgery later. He's still on a low dose of phenobarb. I hope you can find the right combination soon!

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