19 Apr
2011

The EEG in a child with simple absence (petit mal) seizures often shows brief bursts of spike and wave abnormalities. In between these abnormalities the basic rhythm is quite normal. Sometimes spontaneously, but usually with hyperventilation, the EEG demonstrates runs of spikes and waves, with a typical rate of three times a second. This type of “electrical storm,” if it lasts more than one second, interferes with the child’s alertness or awareness. He will stare into space for a few seconds, then may say, “What? What did you say?” He returns to his normal state just as quickly as he had lost awareness. The EEG also abruptly returns to normal background.If Roger has typical staring spells during hyperventilation and has a typical spike and wave pattern on his EEG, the physician will be able to tell his mother that these spells will be outgrown, that he is unlikely to develop other types of seizures, and that his seizures should respond easily to medication.*81\208\8*

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