Seizures (convulsions) are the result of uncontrolled electrical discharges from the nerve cells of the cerebral cortex
and are characterized by sudden, brief attacks of altered consciousness, motor activity, and/or sensory phenomena.
Seizures can be associated with a variety of cerebral or systemic disorders as a focal or generalized disturbance of
cortical function. Sensory symptoms arise from the parietal lobe; motor symptoms arise from the frontal lobe.
The phases of seizure activity are prodromal, aural, ictal, and postictal. The
involves mood or
behavior changes that may precede a seizure by hours or days. The
is a premonition of impending seizure activity
and may be visual, auditory, or gustatory. The
is characterized by seizure activity, usually musculoskeletal.
is a period of confusion/somnolence/irritability that occurs after the seizure.
The main causes for seizures can be divided into six categories:
Poisons, alcohol, overdoses of prescription/nonprescription drugs (with drugs the leading cause).
Hyperkalemia, hypoglycemia, and acidosis.
Acute infections, heatstroke.
Resulting from head injury, infections, hypoxia, expanding brain lesions, increased intracranial
Prenatal hypertension/toxemia of pregnancy.
Seizures can be divided into two major classifications (generalized and partial). Generalized seizure types include
tonic-clonic, myoclonic, clonic, tonic, atonic, and absence seizures. Partial (focal) seizures are the most common type
and are categorized as either (1) simple (partial motor, partial sensory) or (2) complex.
Community; however, may require brief inpatient care on a medical or subacute unit for stabilization/treatment of
Cerebrovascular accident (CVA)/stroke
Craniocerebral trauma (acute rehabilitative phase)
Psychosocial aspects of care
Substance dependence/abuse rehabilitation
Patient Assessment Database
Fatigue, general weakness
Limitation of activities/occupation imposed by self/significant other (SO)/healthcare
provider or others
Altered muscle tone/strength
Involuntary movement/contractions of muscles or muscle groups (generalized tonic-clonic
Ictal: Hypertension, increased pulse, cyanosis
Postictal: Vital signs normal or depressed with decreased pulse and respiration
Internal/external stressors related to condition and/or treatment
Irritability; sense of helplessness/hopelessness
Changes in relationships
Wide range of emotional responses