Difference between Simple Partials & Complex Partials

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NEUROLOGY CHANNEL - Understanding Epilepsy & Seizures

This website gives a better definition
of separation of Simple Partial & Complex Partial

Simple Partials:
Symptoms may be motor, sensory, psychic (states of consciousness), and/or autonomic (involuntary activity controlled by the autonomic nervous system). There is no impairment of consciousness in simple partial seizures.

Motor signs include the following:

* alternating contraction and relaxation of muscle groups
* eye movements and turning of the head to the same side
* asymmetrical posturing of the limbs
* speech arrest, vocalization

Sensory symptoms include the following:

* seeing flashes of lights or colors, illusions and hallucinations
* hearing humming, buzzing, hissing noises
* experiencing unpleasant odors and tastes
* dizziness, lightheadedness

Autonomic signs and symptoms include the following:

* borborygmi (rumbling noises produced by gas in the intestines)
* flushing
* incontinence
* nausea, vomiting
* piloerection (goose bumps)
* pupillary dilation
* sweating
* tachycardia (rapid heart rate)

Psychic symptoms include the following:

* detachment, depersonalization
* dreamy state
* memory distortion: flashback, deja vu (feeling that one has seen something before), deja entendu (feeling that one has heard something before), jamais vu (feeling that one has never seen something that is familiar), jamais entendu (feeling that one has never heard something that is familiar), panoramic vision (rapid recall of past events)
* time distortion
* unprovoked emotion: fear, pleasure, displeasure, depression, anger, elation, eroticism

Complex Partials:

Loss of consciousness distinguishes complex partial seizures from simple partial seizures. While unconscious, the patient may have "vacant" or "frightened" look and may have signs and symptoms of a simple partial seizure. Automatisms may occur during unconsciousness.

There are five types of automatisms:

* Alimentary: chewing, increased salivation, borborygmi (rumbling noises caused by gas in the intestines)
* Mimetic: facial expressions of fear, bewilderment, discomfort, tranquility, laughter, crying
* Gestural: repetitive movements of the hands, fingers, sexual gestures
* Ambulatory: wandering, running
* Verbal: repeated short phrases or swearing

Patients who have had complex partial seizures over a period of years may develop drop attacks. When this occurs, they lose postural tone and fall with the sudden onset of unconsciousness.

Complications—Complex partial seizures are easily triggered by emotional stress. The limbic structures (i.e., hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala) of the brain may be damaged by seizure activity. The limbic system is concerned with emotion and motivation.

These patients may develop cognitive and behavioral difficulties, such as the following:

* Interictal personality: humorlessness, dependence, obsessions, anger, hypo- or hypersexuality, emotionality
* Memory loss: short-term memory loss attributable to dysfunction in the hippocampus, anomia (inability to recall words or names of objects)
* Poriomania: prolonged aimless wandering followed by amnesia
* Violent behavior: aggression and defensiveness when subjected to restraint during a seizure
Boy that is one ugly, ad heavy site.
I heard somewhere that during a complex partial seizure your consiouness is impaired not completely lost....more like a dream

...do you know which is true?
Bee -- I'm hardly the expert here (oh, good grief !!) but during what the "experts" have called a complex partial I have both had partial consciousness and been totally "gone".

When my seizures started I was always partially conscious ..... later that total gone-ness arrived. (I want to call it black-out, but my surroundings are not BLACK..... they are just just GONE.)
LOL @ Bernard - I agree with the ADS
it's annoying as heck.

But at least the information is there.


I have Intractable Complex Partials with
secondary generalization.
I have no memory and I have loss of

I also have Simple Partials that can also
secondary generalize, and I have my memory
and consciousness during this; unless it had
generalized into something else - such as;
Tonic Clonic or Complex Partials - where I'll
loose consciousness.
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I usually can somewhat remember but my facts are all wrong. And other times I dont remember at all...
I dont know much about the kind of seizures I have...my doc says I have Tonic Clonic, Tonic, Absence, Complex partial, and simple partial...whatever...

Today was the first time I have ever had a simple partial seizure in a while (at least what I remember-no pun intended-)...and I know this sounds strange and insensitive but, I thought it was the funniest thing ever! Probably just because I could actually remember the entire seizure and it was just my right arm flopping around like a fish out of water...
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I talked to my doctor today. And I was actually lucky enough for him to get to witness two of my complex partial seizures!!! Finally!!:woot:

Somehow the subject of conciousness came up and he said that there are three possible levels of conciousness. Unconcious, Impaired, and concious. Yet they all can fall under the category of complex partial. I thought if you could completely remember it would be simple..Hmmm...did they change the rules on me?
Yet they all can fall under the category of complex partial. I thought if you could completely remember it would be simple..Hmmm...did they change the rules on me?


There are no "rules" in Epilepsy unfortunately,
it's a real strange condition. But glad the Neuro
caught it all ~ and now you can be treated and
be more at ease.

The next thing the Neuro would do is come up
with a plan; and go from there. Just be patient.
It will not all work overnight, it all takes time,
including the titration of medication(s). The tests
and all.

But I'm glad it was all caught and you can now
move forward!
yep...now he increased the Topamax and put me on Tegretol...and I have to take that three times a day...that's going to be a joy:tdown:
Did he suggest to move up real slow?
These weren't studied on 16 yr old teens.
Im on 100 bid til friday then 200 bid til mond then 200 3X daily (sorry dont know the medical crap for that...)
Bee -- I'm hardly the expert here (oh, good grief !!) but during what the "experts" have called a complex partial I have both had partial consciousness and been totally "gone".

When my seizures started I was always partially conscious ..... later that total gone-ness arrived. (I want to call it black-out, but my surroundings are not BLACK..... they are just just GONE.)

By any chance do you mean a state where you are aware but cannot see, hear, move, smell, touch, taste, think?

I've had that happen before.
I gotta talk w my neuro about some things

YES, I know I have CP

However, in reading aloud to Carey about the PC's, it seems I have TONS of them.


BUT, thankfully, the ONLY time I have Grandmal is when my blood-sodium is too low and we use sodium to prevent that. I need to do 2 things:

1: write all this :soap: down so I don't forget the questions
2: I forgot, :soap:, that fast, darn it, had something to do with the sodium, OH< I remember - quick glb- ummm - I need to write down and ask if I should come off of lasix as it would naturally eliminate the sodium from the body.

At least I would think so.

Is anyone else familiar between the link of convulsions/coma/death to low blood sodium - and - is it REALLY unrelated to E???


I's a mess!!

SHEESH - send *me* - this lemon of a car (edsil???) back and get a donkey - it'd probably work better!!

I thought of something funny, but I reckon this is a serious moment.

(just saw in my mind, memory, of a donkey kicking up its heels and expelling sounds from the hind end - wondering if it had E - forgive me)

I'll go back and hide in the corner and behave myself now............GLB
It does all get complicated when you are new to this, doesn't it! As for me, I think I have both simple and complex partials but I had a few episodes 15 years ago or so where I just suddenly lost muscle tone in my legs and dropped to the floor like a rock with no warning. Not sure what those are -- maybe some of the rest of you know. At the time,. my Dr. didn't know what it was and didn't check me for epilepsy. But now, I can't help but think that it's related to my epilepsy diagnosis. When I was a kid, I remember I had these episodes where I would roll my eyes. People would tell me to stop because they would "get stuck there" but I couldn't. I've probably had this my whole life and am sad it took me 53 years to get diagnosed since I can tell that I feel "clearer-headed" if that makes sense on the medication.
50 yrs here before a final diagnosis of Complex Partials and Complex Migraines, w/low blood sodium induced generalized convulsions. First diagnosed w/TEMPORAL LOBE SYNDROME. I start a line of messages, can't think - oh, thread - to find out if that term still is used or is there a new term to replace it.
People are starting to restrain me during a seizure.
I have to talk to these people again about restraining me,and tell them what to do.I usually have a complex partial or a tonic-clonic seizure or when with my hubby I might have CP or tonic-clonic sometimes absence.

I'm going to start looking for neuro surgeon talk to.

Hi Ziggidypoo, I have diabetes and epilepsy. When I have low blood sugar or high blood sugar, I have seizures. Keep having blood tests on your sodium. You can have to much. Sodium is natural in foods. I am not saying you do not need extra. You have to go by your blood tests.
Hi Belinda, why are they restraining you? As far as I know, I have never been restrained.
I don't have complex partial seizures but simple partial seizures

Thank you for the beginning of this thread. I would like to know why my doc called them complex partial all of these years? I remember 20 years ago being perplexed but just kind of accepted the diagnosis. I never loose consciousness. He is retiring and since I will need to develop a relationship with a new neurologist I will let it be. I need the room where I can rant a bit....where do I go?
wow - I guess I must have simple (conscious w/ speech arrest) and complex (wandering, swearing, talking, repetitive motions) as well as tonic-clonic, and absence (particular fixed stare). I think I must start keeping a diary again. I am not sure - can all of these originate at any point in the brain or are some area-specific?
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