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salaam convulsionNeurology A spasm of early infancy onset that occurs 20-100 times/day; SCs either disappear by age 2 or evolve into grand mal seizures with mental retardation. See Seizure disorder.
convulsion(kon-vul'shon) [L. convellere, to tear loose]
It is important for the person who observes the convulsion to record on the chart the following: time of onset, duration, whether the convulsion started in a certain area of the body or became generalized from the start, type of contractions, whether the patient became incontinent, and whether the convulsion caused the patient to be injured or strike the head. This information, in addition to its medicolegal importance, is valuable in diagnosis and in caring for the patient.
Common causes are epilepsy, eclampsia, meningitis, heat cramps, brain lesions, tetanus, uremia, hypoxemia, hypotension, and many poisonings. In children, the cause is often fever.
Febrile convulsions in children are usually controlled by suppressing fever with acetaminophen. In adults a specific diagnosis should be made. Diagnostic testing may include assessments of serum chemistries, oxygenation, alcohol levels, brain scanning, or lumbar puncture. The patient should be prevented from self-injury and from the aspiration of oral or gastrointestinal contents. If fever is present, antipyretic drugs may be helpful. Sedatives or anesthesia may be ordered by the physician. Aftercare includes rest in bed. See: febrile convulsion
Appropriate therapy, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, should be instituted to reduce the fever. Oral diazepam (Valium) may be administered while fever is present to prevent seizure recurrence, though in many children the seizure is the first indication of fever. The measures to reduce the temperature must not be so vigorous as to cause hypothermia. Ice water baths and vigorous fanning with application of alcohol should not be used. The application of cool compresses with a gentle flow of air over the body is sufficient. A hypothermia blanket is also suitable. The efficacy and advisability of daily anticonvulsant drug therapy for children with recurrent febrile seizures have not been proven.