Neurological Disorders: Complex Partial Seizure

What is this condition?

Complex partial seizure (CPS) as the name implies is a type of seizure. The word complex is used in this context for a change in mental status or altered sensorium that is seen in this type of seizure. The counterpart of CPS with a clear sensorium is SPS (simple partial seizure).

Both the above seizures are partial means, they are focal onset, indicating there is a localized pathology in the brain from which the seizure arises.

What are some focal pathologies that give rise to CPS?

• Scar tissue
• Tumors
• AVM (a type of blood vessel malformation)
• Stroke (infarct or bleeding)
• Idiopathic (cause is not found) etc

In adults CPS is common this is because many of the structural pathologies listed above are common in that age group. Although CPS occurs in children too however primary generalized epilepsies like petit mal, primary grand mal seizures are more in the pediatric age group.

Clinical presentation of CPS

It largely depends upon from what part of the brain the seizure arises and the below list gives an idea from where seizure arises and what could be the most likely seizure manifestation.

• Frontal lobe - motor manifestations(shaking and/or stiffness of limbs, boy, face, head etc)
• Parietal lobe – sensory manifestations (numbness, pins & needles feeling in the skin)
• Occipital lobe – visual manifestations (various visual phenomena like seeing light, stars etc)
• Temporal lobe – hearing related manifestations (sounds, noises etc), taste, and memory related symptoms

Diagnosis of CPS

The diagnosis of CPS is made with the use of EEG (Electroencephalogram) and a brain scan like MRI scan or CAT scan of the brain. The EEG will show the seizure related activities in the brain called as epileptiform activities and the brain scan will help in finding out the cause for the CPS (structural problems in the brain like scar tissue, stroke, tumor, vascular manifestations etc).

Treatment of CPS

The CPS is treated with antiseizure meds like Carbanazepine, Oxcarbamazepine, Levetiracetam etc and if the seizure meds are not adequately helping then there are surgical options too.

For more details on Seizure and Epilepsy including the diagnosis & management click on the above link

Complex Partial Seizure to Neurology Articles