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The epidemiology of convulsive status epilepticus in children: a critical review.

Epilepsia 2007 September
There is ongoing debate regarding the most appropriate definition of status epilepticus. This depends upon the research question being asked. Based on the most widely used "30 min definition," the incidence of childhood convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) in developed countries is approximately 20/100,000/year, but will vary depending, among others, on socioeconomic and ethnic characteristics of the population. Age is a main determinant of the epidemiology of CSE and, even within the pediatric population there are substantial differences between older and younger children in terms of incidence, etiology, and frequency of prior neurological abnormalities or prior seizures. Overall, incidence is highest during the first year of life, febrile CSE is the single most common cause, around 40% of children will have previous neurological abnormalities and less than 15% will have a prior history of epilepsy. Outcome is mainly a function of etiology. However, the causative role of CSE itself on mesial temporal sclerosis and subsequent epilepsy or the influence of age, duration, or treatment on outcome of CSE remains largely unknown. Future studies should aim at clarifying these issues and identifying specific ethnic, genetic, or socioeconomic factors associated with CSE to pinpoint potential targets for its primary and secondary prevention.

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