Medical Definition of Seizure

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.

The type of symptoms and seizures depend on where the abnormal electrical activity takes place in the brain, what its cause is, and such factors as the patient's age and general state of health.

Seizures can be caused by head injuries, brain tumors, lead poisoning, maldevelopment of the brain, genetic and infectious illnesses, and fevers. In fully half of the patients with seizures, no cause can yet be found.

Seizure is abbreviated sz. See also epilepsy.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017

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