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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Seizure Glossary

Seizure Terminology


The earliest portion of a seizure that is recognized by the patient as a “warning” that the seizure is about to occur.


The period during which the seizure actually happens


The time immediately following the seizure


The interval between seizures

Classification of Seizures

Distinguishing between the two types of seizures is important--etiology will determine management and treatment decisions. A description of what happened before, during, and after the seizure, along with an EEG will help determine seizure type.

Primary Generalized

These seizures begin with widespread, excessive electrical discharge simultaneously involving both sides of the brain. For example, a full “grand mal” or brief staring episode.


These seizures begin with an abnormal electrical discharge restricted to one region of the brain. For example, a complex partial seizure.