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Mirski, Marek, A.; Varelas, Panayiotis, N.

doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000290438.87946.a4

Status epilepticus (SE) is a term used to describe a state of unremitting seizures. It includes several clinical seizure types that have in common a prolonged duration of activity. The duration to meet the diagnosis of SE has recently been abbreviated. This is important in attempts to limit cerebral injury from prolonged SE, especially convulsive SE, which represents a true neurological emergency. The list of etiologies of SE differs between out-of-hospital and inpatient venues. Acute drug withdrawal and cerebral injury are common outpatient triggers of SE. Metabolic derangements frequent hospitalized patients with new-onset SE, and drug toxicity is an unusual but important etiology to consider of intensive care unit seizures. An electroencephalogram remains an important tool both to effectively treat SE as well as to recognize nonconvulsive SE, which is more common than currently appreciated. Early termination of SE is key to limiting cerebral pathology and patient morbidity. The emphasis on rapid control supports early consideration of critical care intervention and electroencephalogram suppression.

© 2006 American Academy of Neurology
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