Status epilepticus

Marek A. Mirski, Panayiotis N. Varelas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Traditionally, status epilepticus (SE) has been arbitrarily defined as either a single generalized seizure lasting greater than 30 minutes, or a group of repetitive seizures between which the patient had not fully recovered. Recently, exactly when a prolonged seizure or set of recurrent seizures is deemed to have become SE has further evolved. In light of data now demonstrating the time-dependent risk of early neuronal injury, and the necessity to treat this disorder prior to irreversible cerebral insult, shorter seizure epochs have been emphasized. Since typical seizures last no longer than 1–2 minutes, and injury can be documented histologically by 30 minutes, it is reasonable to consider as SE any seizure events greater than 5–10 minutes in length. This epoch has been now adopted by both the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society. THE PHENOTYPE OF STATUS EPILEPTICUS There are three main subtypes of SE: • The most common is generalized convulsive SE (GCSE). • Focal Motor SE (FMSE), or epilepsy partialis continuans, is relatively uncommon and typically manifests as continuous motor twitching of a single limb or side of face. • It is not clear whether FMSE may result in substantive injury to the cerebral cortex. • Reasonable attempts at control are advocated, but high-risk therapies such as induced pharmacologic coma are rarely considered appropriate. • Nonconvulsive SE (NCSE) incorporates a variety of continuous non-motor electrical paroxysms, often described as complex-partial SE, subtle SE, non tonic-clonic SE, or subclinical SE. […].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurocritical Care
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780511635434
ISBN (Print)9780521676892
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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