Petit mal seizures occur in 25% of all epilepsy patients and 5% of pediatric epilepsy patients (are most common between ages 3-15 years). They occur frequently (multiple daily episodes) usually shortly after awakening or during periods of inactivity.
The clinical manifestations are:
- Eyelid clonus (rapid or cyclic blinking)
- Tonic or atonic features
- If standing, the patient will remain standing
- There is no aura or postictal state
- The duration does not exceed 10 seconds
Should a patient exhibit a petit mal seizure, the following steps should be taken:
- Recognize the problem based on the patient’s medical history.
- Recognize the problem (lack of response to stimulation).
- Discontinue dental treatment.
- Activate the office emergency team.
- Position the patient in a supine position with the feet elevated.
- Once the seizure ceases (<5 minutes) reassure the patient.
- Discharge patient once fully recovered.
If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes:
- Activate EMS.
- Perform BLS as needed.