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Epilepsy

Fits during sleep.

02/10/2009

Question:

My 14 year old brother is a victim. He remains unconscious, eyes not moving but remained opened, lips turn purplish, growling sounds and stiffness of hands are observed with slight jerking of a head. Total 2 episodes occurred till yet with 2 months interval, one during sleep at night and one during nap. Both the episodes were of approx. 15 minutes. When he gained consciousness he was not able to remember what happened. Doctors here have performed MRI, EEG, Sleep Deprived EEG and CT Scans, but all are clear.

He is a bit overweight according to his age and he often complain about fast heartbeat and pain at back side of his head with a slight lost of visual. There is no history of such kind in our family.

What do you think? What should we do, as we are so much worried. Please reply.

Answer:

The workup your brother underwent that includes the brain imaging and EEG are all appropriate. He will likely be treated with medication. It is not unusual that no cause is found, this is true in about 50% of cases. More than half of people with newly diagnosed seizures respond to medication and become seizure free. Depending on a variety of other factors, the medication may be stopped in 3-5 years. His weight, the pain in the head, and the fast heartbeat probably have nothing to do with the seizure. If your brother is not controlled with the first or second medication he tries, we recommend a complete evaluation at a comprehensive epilepsy center. These can be found on the Epilepsy Foundation website.

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Response by:

Michael   Privitera, MD Michael Privitera, MD
Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati