Status epilepticus is a serious neurologic condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality, especially in the elderly. Prompt recognition and treatment are necessary to minimize adverse outcomes for the patient.


Criteria for convulsive status epilepticus - one or both of the following:

(1) continuous seizure activity for >= 30 minutes

(2) >= 2 seizures without interval recovery


Criteria for nonconvulsive status epilepticus - all of the following:

(1) depressed levels of consciousness (sometimes with coma), agitation or disorientation

(2) absence of clinical convulsive activity

(3) continuous epileptiform discharges on electroencephalography (EEG)


Causes associated with status epilepticus:

(1) cerebrovascular lesions

(2) medication or drug withdrawal

(3) anoxia

(4) alcohol or drug abuse

(5) metabolic disorders

(6) meningoencephalitis

(7) epileptogenic drugs, including cyclosporine or cephalosporins, especially in patients with renal failure or other cause for drug accumulation


Nonconvulsive status epilepticus may be divided into:

(1) generalized absence status

(2) complex partial status


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