More Aggressive Management Needed in Treating Children with Refractory Convulsive Status Epilepticus

Released: 19-Nov-2013 2:00 PM EST
Embargo expired: 8-Dec-2013 10:45 AM EST
Source Newsroom: American Epilepsy Society (AES)
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Citations AES Annual Meeting December 2013

Newswise — Washington, DC, December 8, 2013 - The management of refractory convulsive status epilepticus (RCSE) varies at different medical centers and from patient to patient. Rapid success in aborting these non-stop seizures is crucial as the risk of neurological damage is high and, though rare, may result in death depending on seizure duration. By pooling data and analyzing current RCSE management practices, researchers representing a multicenter network of tertiary referral hospitals in the U.S. conducted a study that could lead to improved treatment outcomes for potentially life-threatening seizures.

The network of hospitals [The Pediatric Status Epilepticus Research Group (pSERG)] sought to describe the care of children with RCSE, looking closely at the type of medications prescribed, order of administration, and the duration between seizure onset and drug administration.

In a report presented today at the American Epilepsy Society’s 67th Annual Meeting, pSERG investigators analyzed 74 RCSE episodes in 72 children. The mean patient age for refractory seizures was 2.5 years (range 1-7 yrs.). Most RCSE episodes (56) began outside of the hospital and more than half of those (33) occurred in children without prior history of seizures (Platform B.02 / Abstract 1748180 – Management of Pediatric Refractory Convulsive Status Epilepticus in Clinical Practice).

“Our study suggests prominent variability in current anticonvulsant drug (AED) choices in a network of leading reference hospitals in the United States,” said Tobias Loddenkemper, M.D., of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who presented the report. “Escalation of one type of anticonvulsant to the next and, especially, the timing of drug administration left room for improvement. Our data provide a framework to do better in the care of pediatric patients with convulsive status epilepticus and highlight opportunities to be more aggressive and effective.”

The group expects to conduct future collaborations that may allow for the collection of biologic samples to determine genetic factors and provide information for future interventional trials.

The pSERG study was supported by the American Epilepsy Society and the Epilepsy Foundation of America.

Editors Note: Authors of this study will be available at a press briefing at 10:45 am (EDT), December 8, in the onsite pressroom, Room 209-A, Level 2 of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The call-in number for off-site journalists is 1-605-475-4000, passcode 521653#.

About epilepsy
The epilepsies affect 50 million people worldwide, including three million in the United States. The disorder can have a single specific, well-defined cause, such as a head injury, or manifest as a syndrome with a complex of symptoms. It is the third most common neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.

About the American Epilepsy Society (AES)
The American Epilepsy Society, based in West Hartford, CT, seeks to advance and improve the treatment of epilepsy through the promotion of epilepsy research and education for healthcare professionals. The Society’s annual meeting is the largest scientific meeting in epilepsy and each year attracts some 4,000 physicians, scientists and allied healthcare professionals from around the world.

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