Absence and Atypical Absence Seizures
What Is An Atypical Absence Seizure?
Absence Seizures cause lapses in awareness and sometimes involve staring. These used to be called petit mal seizures. They begin abruptly and only last a few seconds. They are common in children and may be mistaken for daydreaming. The person will stare but they may be able to respond a bit.
Atypical Absence Seizures are similar to absence seizures and also may involve muscle movements such as:
- Eye blinking, chewing movements, lip-smacking, or slight jerking movements of the lips
- rubbing of the fingers or hands or other small hand movements
Symptoms of absence seizures can be difficult to pick up in a person with other cognitive or behavioral problems. It may be hard to tell what is due to a seizure or other behaviors. These seizures may begin and end gradually. This is different from the sudden start and stop of a typical absence seizure. Falling during a seizure is also more common than it is during typical absence seizures. Atypical absence seizures usually last 5 to 30 seconds and can occur in clusters.
Example of Absence and Atypical Absence Seizures in LGS
(WARNING! Graphic Content)
*Absence and atypical absence seizures are very difficult to identify without a video EEG. Pediatric epilepsy specialists who reviewed this video agreed this is a good example of an atypical absence seizure with myoclonic activity.
*Absence and atypical absence seizures are very difficult to identify without a video EEG. Pediatric epilepsy specialists who reviewed this video were unsure if this is a focal motor seizure with eye deviation or an atypical absence. Treatment differs for these two seizure types and an EEG would be needed in order to determine the best treatment.
*Absence and atypical absence seizures are very difficult to identify without a video EEG. Pediatric epilepsy specialists who reviewed this video were unsure if this is a focal non-motor seizure or an absence. Treatment differs for these two seizure types and an EEG would be needed in order to determine the best treatment.
Thank you to the families who shared these heartbreaking videos with us so we may educate others. An EEG is the only way to determine the exact seizure type. We did not have EEG for these video’s so thank you to the physicians, who, as a part of their daily practice, regularly review videos of their patients having seizures and have reviewed these videos to help us best determine the seizure type represented.
Roll the person on their side so they don’t breathe any saliva or other secretions into their lungs (aspirate). This can lead to pneumonia. Make sure the person is breathing is okay, and ensure they don’t injure themselves. Time the seizure.
A seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes (status epilepticus), or three seizures in a row without a clear recovery between them (seizure cluster), is a medical emergency. Administer at-home seizure rescue medication immediately and if the seizure does not resolve, call for emergency help.
The information here is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. Content provided is for informational purposes only. LGSF is not responsible for actions taken based on the information included on this webpage. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis or treatment options.
Updated February 10, 2022