Kelly Osbourne Hospitalized For Seizure Evaluation

E! Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne, 28, remains hospitalized after having a seizure during the taping of the show on Thursday. Osbourne told co-host Melissa Rivers that she was not feeling well, then fell out of her seat and began to shake for about 30 seconds.

She was taken to Cedar Sinai Hospital for treatment and evaluation. Kelly sent out a tweet that night to her fans to let them know that she was doing OK:

kelly with iv tweet

However Kelly still remains in the hospital for evaluation. She had never had anything like this before, and was understandably scared by it. It is unknown whether Kelly will be diagnosed with epilepsy or whether something else is the cause of the seizure.

Kelly’s younger brother Jack Osbourne, 26, was just diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last June, so mama Sharon must be beside herself with worry. However she did tweet:

I want to thank everyone for their concern about @MissKellyO. She’s doing fine she’s at Cedars and is surrounded by the best doctors & love.

What is a seizure?

Seizures (sometimes referred to as “fits” or  convulsions) are episodes of disturbed brain function that cause changes in attention or behavior. They are caused by abnormally excited electrical signals in the brain.

There is a broad spectrum of how this abnormal activity is manifested- anything from a short period of inattentiveness or staring (absence seizures) to a seizure which causes whole body shaking (generalized tonic-clonic seizures). Most seizures last 5 minutes or less. Afterward, the individual will seem very tired and will go to sleep.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder involving repeated, spontaneous seizures of any type. About 2.7 million Americans have been treated for epilepsy in the past 5 years. That’s 8 or 9 out of every 1,000 people.

Sometimes a seizure is related to a temporary condition, such as exposure to or withdrawal from certain drugs, a high fever, or abnormal levels of sodium or glucose in the blood. Once the situation is corrected, the seizures do not return and the person does NOT have epilepsy.

In other cases, permanent injury to or changes in brain tissue cause the brain to be abnormally excitable. In these cases, the seizures can happen without an immediate cause. This is epilepsy. Epilepsy can affect people of any age.

The most common of cause of epilepsy is called idiopathic, which means the cause cannot be identified. These seizures usually begin between ages 5 and 20, but they can happen at any age. People with this condition have no other neurological problems, but sometimes have a family history of seizures or epilepsy.

Some other more common causes of epilepsy include:

  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Infections (including brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis, and AIDS)
  • Problems that are present from before birth (congenital brain defects or metabolic diseases such as phenylketonuria)
  • Injuries around the time of birth (in this case, seizures usually begin in infancy or early childhood)
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Tumors or other structural brain lesions such as blood clots (hematomas) or abnormal blood vessels  (aneurysms)

How is Epilepsy Diagnosed?

Doctors have developed a number of different tests to determine whether a person has epilepsy and, if so, what kind of seizures the person has. In some cases, people may have symptoms that look very much like a seizure but in fact are nonepileptic events caused by other disorders. Even doctors may not be able to tell the difference between these disorders and epilepsy without close observation and intensive testing.

EEG Monitoring

EEG_capAn EEG records brain waves detected by electrodes placed on the scalp. This is the most common diagnostic test for epilepsy and can detect abnormalities in the brain’s electrical activity. People with epilepsy frequently have changes in their normal pattern of brain waves, even when they are not experiencing a seizure.

While this type of test can be very useful in diagnosing epilepsy, it is not foolproof. Some people continue to show normal brain wave patterns even after they have experienced a seizure. In other cases, the unusual brain waves are generated deep in the brain where the EEG is unable to detect them.

Video monitoring is often used in conjunction with EEG to determine the nature of a person’s seizures. It also can be used in some cases to rule out other disorders such as cardiac arrythmia or narcolepsy that may look like epilepsy.

Brain Scans

One of the most important ways of diagnosing epilepsy is through the use of brain scans. The most commonly used brain scans include CT (computed tomography), PET (positron emission tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). CT and MRI scans reveal the structure of the brain, which can be useful for identifying brain tumors, cysts, and other structural abnormalities. PET and an adapted kind of MRI called functional MRI (fMRI) can be used to monitor the brain’s activity and detect abnormalities in how it works. SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) is a relatively new kind of brain scan that is sometimes used to locate seizure foci in the brain.

Blood Tests

Doctors often take blood samples for testing, particularly when they are examining a child. These blood samples are often screened for metabolic or genetic disorders that may be associated with the seizures. They also may be used to check for underlying problems such as infections, lead poisoning, anemia, and diabetes that may be causing or triggering the seizures.

For more information, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on Seizures

 

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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