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Seizures Emergencies

Seizures Emergencies Overview

Seizures are uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain that may lead to symptoms that may range from mild loss of attention to violent muscular contractions that can lead to death. Everyone has the potential to have seizures. Some people have them frequently. Seizure disorders vary tremendously. Some people have only an occasional seizure, and other people have daily or more frequent seizures. Another term frequently used in the place of seizure is convulsion.

  • There are many different types of seizures. Seizure activity may range from simple blank staring to loss of consciousness with spasticity or muscle jerking.
  • Generally, a seizure should be considered an emergency in these situations:
    • Seizures that do not stop within a few minutes.
    • Prolonged confusion remains after the seizure (more than 10-15 minutes).
    • The person is not responsive after a seizure.
    • The person has trouble breathing.
    • The person is injured during the seizure.
    • The seizure is a first-time seizure.
    • There is a significant change in the type or character of the seizure from that person's usual seizure pattern.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/10/2014
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Seizures in the Emergency Department »

Seizures are a common cause of visits to the emergency department (ED). One estimate states that approximately 1% of patients coming to the ED do so because of seizures (Krumholz et al, 1989)

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