Absence Seizure (Petit Mal Seizure) : Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Absence Seizure (Petit Mal Seizure) in Infants, Childrens: Definition, Etiology, Pathophysiology, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Management


  • Absence Seizure is a type of seizure which involves brief, sudden lapses in attention causing blank out or sometimes staring look.
  • Can occurs at any age but typically begins between 4-8 years.
  • Female > Male
  • Often precipitated by hyperventilation.


  • Brief, vacant, staring look, lasting few seconds.


  • Typical AbsenceSeizure
  • Atypical AbsenceSeizure (Rare)


  • Hyperventilation
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Decline in scholastic performance
  • Emotional stress

Mnemonic: Heart broken


Site of pathology: Thalamo cortical neurons


Electroencephalography (EEG) : Investigation of choice

  • 3 Hz spike & slow wave pattern


  • Antiepileptic drugs

Atypical Absence Seizure

  • Rare
  • Loss of tone & unconsciousness also

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