Glossary of Medical Terms

Our online medical glossary of medical terms and definitions includes definitions for terms related to treatment, and general medicine

ABSENCE

Paroxysmal attacks of impaired consciousness, occasionally accompanied by spasm or twitching of cephalic muscles, which generally can be brought on by hyperventilation; depending on the type and severity of the absence, the EEG may show an abrupt onset of a 3/sec spike and wave pattern as in simple absence, or in atypical cases, a 4/sec spike and wave or faster spike complexes. The clinical states accompanying these EEG abnormalities may be classified as: 1) absence with no overt manifestations, e.g., simple absence; epileptic absence; subclinical absence; 2) absence with clonic movements, e.g., myoclonic absence; 3) absence with atonic states, e.g., atonic absence; 4) absence with tonic contractions, e.g., hypertonic muscular contraction; 5) absence with automatisms, e.g., different stereotyped movements, generally of the person or hands; 6) absence with atypical parameters, e.g., bizarre engine activity. Origin: L. Absentia
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