Nonconvulsive status epilepticus in children: clinical and EEG characteristics

Stacey K H Tay, Lawrence J Hirsch, Linda Leary, Nathalie Jette, John Wittman, Cigdem I Akman
Epilepsia 2006, 47 (9): 1504-9

BACKGROUND: Nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) is a highly heterogeneous clinical condition that is understudied in the pediatric population.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the epidemiological, clinical, and electroencephalograpic features in pediatric patients with NCSE.

METHODS: We identified 19 pediatric patients with NCSE from the epilepsy database of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at, Columbia University between June 2000 and December 2003. Continuous electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring was analyzed and chart review was performed.

RESULTS: The patients ranged from 1 month old to 17 years of age. Five patients developed NCSE following convulsive status epilepticus (CSE), and a further 12 patients developed NCSE after brief convulsions. Two developed NCSE as the first manifestation during a comatose state following hypoxic events. Acute hypoxic-ischemic injury was the most frequent etiology of NCSE in our population (5 of 19; 26%), followed by exacerbation of underlying neurometabolic disease (4 of 19; 21%), acute infection (3 of 19; 16%), change in antiepileptic drug regimen (3 of 19;16%), refractory epilepsy (2 of 19; 11%) and intracranial hemorrhage (2 of 19; 11%). Six patients had associated periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges (PLEDs), one had generalized periodic epileptiform discharges (GPEDs). Five (5 of 19; 26%) patients died of the underlying acute medical illness. Periodic discharges were associated with worse outcome.

CONCLUSION: The majority of our patients with NCSE had preceding seizures in the acute setting prior to the diagnosis of NCSE, though most of these seizures were brief, isolated convulsions (12 patients) rather than CSE (five patients). Prolonged EEG monitoring to exclude NCSE may be warranted in pediatric patients even after brief convulsive seizures. Prompt recognition and treatment may be necessary to improve neurological outcome.

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