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Paroxysmal attack
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G40.-G47.
Paroxysms redirects here. For the waltz by Johann Strauss II, see Paroxysmen.

Paroxysmal attacks are short, frequent and stereotyped symptoms that can be observed in various clinical conditions. They are usually associated with Multiple Sclerosis, but they may also be observed in other disorders such as encephalitis, head trauma, stroke, asthma, trigeminal neuralgia, breath-holding spells, epilepsy, malaria, tabes dorsalis, and Behçet's disease. It has also been noted as a symptom of Gratification disorder in children.

Paroxysmal attacks in various disorders have been reported extensively and ephaptic transmission of demyelinated nerves has been presumed as one of the underlying mechanisms of this phenomenon. This is supported by the presence of these attacks in multiple sclerosis and tabes dorsalis, which both involve demyelination of spinal cord neurons. Exercise, tactile stimuli, hot water, anxiety and neck flexion may provoke paroxysmal attacks. Mostly reported paroxysmal attacks are painful tonic spasms dysarthria and ataxia, numbness and hemiparesis. They are typically different from other transient symptoms by their brevity (lasting no more than 2 minutes), frequency (from 1-2 times/day up to a few hundred times/day), stereotyped fashion and excellent response to drugs (usually carbamazepine). Withdrawal of symptoms without any residual neurological finding is another key feature in their recognition.

The word paroxysm means sudden fit or outburst.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

Medical warning!
This article is from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Medical science has made many leaps forward since it has been written. This is not a site for medical advice, when you need information on a medical condition, consult a professional instead.

PAROXYSM (Med. Lat. paroxysnaus, from the Gr. irapoV)vecv,. to make sharp, 6 vs), a violent outbreak or display of emotion or feeling. The term is used of a fit of laughter, pain, anger or fear, and particularly an acute stage in a disease is the earliest sense of the word.


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