Partial Seizures (aka focal seizures)

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Niamh's Journey

Partial seizures involve epileptic activity in just one part of the brain. They can be divided into simple partial and complex partial. In a simple partial seizure you are fully conscious. You remain fully aware of your surroundings. However this does not mean that you are able to stop or control the symptoms.

In a complex partial seizure you partly lose consciousness and you are not aware of what you are doing. In a simple partial seizure you remain conscious.

The symptoms experienced and the outward presentation of the seizure depends on which area of your brain is affected by epileptic activity.

Niamh's Partial seizures mainly affected her temporal lobes and frontal lobes.

Niamh's Complex Partial Seizures

Temporal Lobe Seizures


Eye flickering, slight whimpering and twitching fingers on both hands.
Duration 1-10 seconds. She stopped having these in October 04.

Particularly nasty type of seizure involving screwing face up, lip smacking and retching which often leads to vomiting.
She appears quite distressed during these but it does not involve her arms or legs.

When she has had these and been on an oxygen saturation monitor, these often appear to cause oxygen de-saturation to low 70's and she can go quite grey/blue in her hands (but not always). The area round her mouth sometimes goes blue/white but once the seizure is finished she returns to her normal colour without the need for oxygen.
Duration 1-120 seconds.

Frontal Lobe Seizures


Repetitive head turning with eyes rolled upwards and smacking of lips and mouth open. This coincides with repetitive kicking of legs and/or movement of arms without any breaks.
These can also often involve cyclical pedalling of legs and cyclical movement of her right arm.
Heart rate remains 100bpm despite obvious exertion.
Duration 5 minutes to 4 hours

Rapid Head Nodding 1-5 seconds