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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 12--17

Status epilepticus: Refractory and super-refractory

Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Usha K Misra
Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Raebareily Road, Lucknow - 226 014, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/neuroindia.NI_958_16

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Status epilepticus (SE) is an important neurological emergency. It is defined as seizures lasting for 5 minutes or more or recurrent seizures without recovery of consciousness to baseline between the attacks. Refractory SE (RSE) is defined as SE persisting despite sufficient dose of benzodiazepines and at least one antiepileptic drug (AED), irrespective of time. Super refractory SE (SRSE) is defined as SE that continues for 24 hours or more after the use of anesthetic therapy, including cases that recur on weaning of the anesthestic agent. RSE occurs in 23%–48% of the patients and SRSE in approximately 22% of the patients with SE. In general, RSE occurs in patients with new-onset seizures rather than in patients with chronic epilepsy. The etiology of RSE in developing countries is dominated by central nervous system (CNS) infections and head injury compared to stroke and drug withdrawal in the developed countries. The treatment of RSE and SRSE is not evidence based. Following benzodiazepines, the second line antiepileptic drugs include sodium valproate, phenytoin, levetiracetam, and anesthetic drugs such as midazolam, phenobarbital, and propofol. Most intravenous anesthetic drugs produce hypotension and respiratory suppression; therefore, patients with RSE are managed in intensive care units (ICUs). In RSE patients, electroencephalogram (EEG) burst suppression with interburst interval of 2–20 s or even flat EEG has been tried. Recently, concerns have been raised on the safety of burst suppression in RSE and SRSE. The paucity of ICUs in developing countries limits the use of these management protocols. There is a need to explore intravenous AEDs with safer cardiovascular and respiratory profile for the management of SE.


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