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Epilepsy (or epilepsies, since markedly different clinical entities exist) is a common neurological abnormality affecting about 1% of the human population. Epilepsy is a chronic, usually life-long disorder characterized by recurrent seizures or convulsions and usually, episodes of unconsciousness and/or amnesia. Table 32.1 illustrates the major types of epileptic seizures. Patients often exhibit more than one type. In most instances, the cause of the seizure disorder is not known (idiopathic epilepsy), although trauma during birth is suspected of being one cause.

Head trauma, meningitis, childhood fevers, brain tumors, and degenerative diseases of the cerebral circulation are conditions often associated with the appearance of recurrent seizures that may require treatment with anticonvulsant drugs. Seizures also may be a toxic manifestation of the action of central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and certain other drugs. Seizures often occur in hyperthermia (febrile seizures are very common in infants); sometimes in eclampsia, uremia, hypoglycemia, or pyridoxine deficiency; and frequently as a part of the abstinence syn-

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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