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(cerebral) hypoxia during epileptic seizure?

Hello,

When a person has an epileptic seizure (caused by epilepsy or some other condition (low blood pressure possibly; there is no violent thrashing or tongue-biting in the individual in question)), do the lungs get fresh air, or does the body stop breathing altogether throughout the seizure? A random person on a random forum said that the brain requires ~50% more oxygen during a seizure; is this true? Is there a risk of cerebral hypoxia? If so, is there a way to supply the lungs with air during a seizure (via. some kind of respirator)?

Any insight on this matter is greatly appreciated. However, please back up statements of facts with an authoritative source (a recognised reference on epilepsy, a scientific article, etc.) so I can verify your claim.

Kind regards,
W.
1 Responses
144586 tn?1284669764
A very interesting question. The answer depends because all siezures are not alike. They vary in both etiology and severity. Different parts of the brain may be involved.  A "siezure" is not a "siezure" where one-size-fits-all. Petit-mail siezures, for example do not involve any respiratory compromise at all. There are Grand Mal siezures and status epilepticus.  And all parts of the body are not necessarily involved in all so-called "epileptic" siezures. Furthermore the problem is not merely to "supply the lungs". There is evidence that the microvasculature may be involved. I have witnessed dozens upon dozens of siezures and not one of them involved a requirement for assisted rescue breathing with an AMBU bag. My experience is anecdotal, and I am sure there might be situations where this may have been necessary. In at least one case the airway had to be suctioned because of vomitus compromising the airway. That was done successfully. I'm not sure where you got the idea the "brain requires fifty-percent more oxygen" in a siezure. The literature suggests that untreated siezures, over a long period of time, cause a degradation of mental ability. This is not necessarily so. Presumably there is cumulative damage. And presumably that is due to ischemia.  On the other hand I know a seventy year old college professor who keeps his siezures under control, who is sharp-as-a-whip.
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