Medical Dictionary

tonic-clonic

adjective ton·ic-clon·ic \ ˈtän-i(k)-ˈklä-nik \

medical Definition of tonic-clonic

: relating to, marked by, or being a seizure that affects both cerebral hemispheres and is characterized by the abrupt loss of consciousness with initially tonic muscle contractions followed by clonic muscle spasms
  • During a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, also known as a grand mal seizure, the person might have a vocal outburst, stiffen and fall to the ground.
  • —Jen WatersThe Washington Times4 July 2006
  • Most often, though, they [seizures] fall in a well-documented spectrum of mental and somatic anomalies, from the transient episodes of decreased awareness known as absence (formerly called “petit mal”) to the tonic-clonic (or “grand mal”) attack characterized by loss of consciousness, collapse and spasmodic stiffening and jerking.
  • —Jerry Adler and Eliza GrayNewsweek20 Apr. 2009

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