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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: one time Grand-Mal Seizure

 senajnibor - Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:29 pm

I am a very healthy female, 29 years old, who had absolutely no health problems until May of 2008 when I suffered a grand mal seizure. I had never had a seizure in my life. For 2 days befor the seizure I had a couple of disoriented moments at work. I got very dizzy and off balance and actually lost all knowledge of who I was and my coworkers names, and how to do my job. I did not know how to do my work on the computer, I could only stare at it and wonder, like I didn't even know what a computer was. I couldn't speak to get peoples attention, I could only stare really hard at them hoping someone would look, but they never. This happened 2 days in a row. That second day I left work to go get bloodwork done. It was on my way home, I got that odd feeling again, and that's when the seizure hit. I blacked out for the whole seizure, 2-3 minutes from what I hear. I woke up in hospital. I have no memory from the time the seizure hit until about 4hrs later, although my parents say I was talking and knew who I was. I guess I want to know, is it normal to have no memory of this? And also, after many tests and MRI's, the only thing the neurologist tells me is that this happens quite frequently to people who were born premature, which I was. That just doesn't sit right with me, I'm sorry. Wouldn't there be something that would show up in the brain that was "wrong"? Is there a better explanation for why this happened? Please, any information would helpl
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:18 pm

User avatar Hello -

I don't think the explanation offered is anywhere near satisfactory. There is generally either an underlying cause which can be discovered on electroencephalogram (EEG), especially with stroboscopic provocation, or an established history of seizures with a pattern. You started with partial seizures and progressed to a complete grand mal.

Oh, and yes, it is very normal to have no memory of a grand mal or even of a petit mal seizure. The latter may just elude everyone's attention. Grand mal's are rarely unnoticed.

The inevitable comment that comes next is: "I never had this before." The answer is: "You do now." You may never again, but you are now at tremendously increased risk of one, and yes, unless there's an identifiable outside cause for it, you'll need to take medication to reduce or eliminate a recurrence.

All that said, there is almost always an electrical lesion of the brain evident on EEG, although there are rare patients who have one or just very rare grand mal seizures. These can be stress-related.

I'd be willing to bet that eventually either an underlying, outside cause is found, or that the EEG was not done with stroboscopic provocation, which is the clinical standard for being able to induce seizure in an otherwise-healthy individual.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you and please follow up with us as needed.

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