Complex partial seizure

Complex partial seizure
Complex partial seizure
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G40.2
ICD-9 345.4
MedlinePlus 000699
eMedicine neuro/74
MeSH D017029

A complex partial seizure is an epileptic seizure that is associated with bilateral cerebral hemisphere involvement and causes impairment of awareness or responsiveness, i.e. loss of consciousness.[1]



Complex partial seizures are often preceded by a seizure aura.[2] The seizure aura is a simple partial seizure.[2] The aura may manifest itself as a feeling of déjà vu, jamais vu, fear, euphoria, or depersonalization.[3] The seizure aura might also occur as a visual disturbance, such as tunnel vision or a change in the size of objects (macropsia or micropsia).[4] Once consciousness is impaired, the person may display automatisms such as lip smacking, chewing, or swallowing.[3] There may also be loss of memory (amnesia) surrounding the seizure event.[2] The person may still be able to perform routine tasks such as walking. Witnesses may not recognize that anything is wrong.

Complex partial seizures might arise from any lobe of the brain.[2] Complex partial seizures most commonly arise from the mesial temporal lobe, particularly the amygdala, hippocampus and neocortical regions.[5] A common associated brain abnormality is mesial temporal sclerosis.[3] Mesial temporal sclerosis is a specific pattern of hippocampal neuronal loss accompanied by hippocampal gliosis and atrophy.[6] Complex partial seizures occur when excessive and synchronous electrical brain activity causes impaired awareness and responsiveness.[7] The abnormal electrical activity might spread to the rest of the brain and cause a secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizure.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Trescher, William H., and Ronald P. Lescher 2000, p. 1748.
  2. ^ a b c d Trescher, William H., and Ronald P. Lescher 2000, p. 1749.
  3. ^ a b c Murro, Anthony M. 2006.
  4. ^ Engelsen, B A., C Tzoulis, B Karlsen, A Lillebø, L M 2008.
  5. ^ Trescher, William H., and Ronald P. Lescher 2000, p. 1750.
  6. ^ Trepeta, Scott 2007.
  7. ^ "International League Against Epilepsy." 2008.
  8. ^ Trescher, William H., and Ronald P. Lescher 2000, p. 1747.


  • "International League Against Epilepsy." 2008. International League Against Epilepsy. Accessed 9 Apr. 2008 <>.
  • Murro, Anthony M. "eMedicine - Complex Partial Seizures." 11 Oct. 2006. Medical College of Georgia. Accessed 9 Apr. 2008 <>.
  • Trepeta, Scott. "eMedicine - Mesial Temporal Sclerosis." 11 Sept. 2007. Jamaica Hospital. Accessed 9 Apr. 2008 <>.
  • Trescher, William H., and Ronald P. Lescher. "The Epilepsies." Neurology in Clinical Practice. Ed. Walter G. Bradley, Robert B. Daroff, Gerald M. Fenichel, and C. David Marsden. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2000. 1745-1780.

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