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Seizures Emergencies (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

A first seizure is a reason to visit the doctor or a hospital's emergency department. For a person with a seizure disorder, a change in seizure patterns or more frequent seizures are reasons to seek medical care.

Many people with recurrent seizures may have a seizure and awaken fully. Immediate medical attention is not often needed if the person is fully awake and has not suffered injury and is known to have recurrent seizures.

Other conditions, however, call for immediate medical attention.

  • A seizure that continues more than 5 minutes or a series of seizures without full recovery between them
  • Persistent breathing difficulty (Often the person may appear to stop breathing briefly during the seizure, but breathing should resume quickly; if it does not, call 911, check for a pulse and if necessary, begin CPR.)
  • Injuries sustained during a seizure
  • Persistent confusion or unconsciousness
  • A first seizure
  • A significant change from that person's usual seizure pattern in terms of seizure type, seizure length, or associated symptoms
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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