What are tetanic seizures and how are they characterized in tetanus (lockjaw)?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Patrick B Hinfey, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Tetanic seizures may occur. Their presence portends a poor prognosis, and their frequency and severity are related to the severity of the disease. These seizures resemble epileptic seizures, with the presence of a sudden burst of tonic contractions. However, the patient does not lose consciousness and usually experiences severe pain. Seizures frequently occur in the muscle groups causing opisthotonos, flexion and abduction of the arms, clenching of the fists against the thorax, and extension of the lower extremities.


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