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Evaluation of the first seizure in adults

Steven C Schachter, MD
Section Editor
Paul Garcia, MD
Deputy Editor
April F Eichler, MD, MPH


A seizure is a sudden change in behavior that is the consequence of brain dysfunction:

Epileptic seizures result from electrical hypersynchronization of neuronal networks in the cerebral cortex. Epilepsy is defined when any of the following exist [1]:

At least two unprovoked (or reflex) seizures occurring more than 24 hours apart.

One unprovoked (or reflex) seizures and a probability of further seizures similar to the general recurrence risk after two unprovoked seizures (eg, ≥60 percent), occurring over the next 10 years. This may be the case with remote structural lesions such as stroke, central nervous system infection, or certain types of traumatic brain injury.

Diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Aug 11, 2016.
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