Which clinical history findings are characteristic of nonmotor simple partial status epilepticus (SE)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2018
  • Author: Julie L Roth, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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By clinical history, nonmotor simple partial SE involves subjective sensory disturbances, including the following:

  • Focal or unilateral paresthesias or numbness

  • Focal visual changes, usually characterized by flashing lights

  • Focal visual obscuration or focal colorful hallucinations

  • Olfactory or gustatory hallucinations

  • Atypical rising abdominal sensations

These focal phenomena with preserved consciousness are not uncommon as self-limited seizures, and they most often occur as auras associated with complex partial and secondarily generalized seizures. However, in rare cases, they persist in an ongoing or recurrent fashion that fulfills the criteria for focal SE.

Because these particular forms of SE involve sensory disturbances with preserved consciousness, no helpful clinical signs are associated with them. The gradual evolution of nonmotor simple partial SE into overt complex partial or generalized SE helps provide clinically apparent confirmation of these rare forms of FSE.

In rare instances, a focal or generalized seizure may precede such an episode of SE. However, long-lasting focal sensory disturbances after convulsive seizures often represent a transient postictal phenomenon rather than focal SE. EEG often helps in making this clinical distinction.

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