Status epilepticus (SE) is a true medical and neurologic emergency. To better understand the causes, treatment approaches and associated outcomes among SE patients, investigators at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System retrospectively reviewed all SE cases treated within their system over an eight year period.
Nearly one-third (31%) of cases failed to respond to initial treatment with two anticonvulsants and were considered refractory. In a report presented today at the 64th American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, Viet-Huong Nguyen and colleagues found the mortality rate for these refractory cases to be greater than what is reported in the medical literature. (Abstract 3.076)
According to Dr. Nguyen, "The higher mortality rate is likely due to the increased age and greater number of comorbidities associated with our veteran patients."
The causes of SE among the veterans were highly variable. The most frequent cause being health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and others that result in a lack of oxygen in the brain (21%), followed by unidentifiable causes (21%), traumatic brain injury (13%), and non-adherence to anticonvulsant drug therapy (11%).
American Epilepsy Society