Newswise — January 16, 2020 – Hackensack, NJ – Hackensack University Medical Center researchers in Emergency Medicine participated in a nationwide study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2019 that concluded that three drugs are equally safe and effective in treating patients with life-threatening seizures called Status Epilepticus (SE). The new study, Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial (ESETT), examined three medications commonly administered in the emergency department to treat SE – levetiracetam, fosphenytoin, and valproate – in order to learn which is most effective in treating patients.

“Hackensack University Medical Center team members are on the frontlines of advancing research and innovation,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president of Population Health, Hackensack Meridian Health. “I would like to congratulate everyone who participated in this life-saving study for their hard work and dedication.”

SE is a life-threatening condition in which the brain is in a state of persistent seizure. SE is defined as a seizure or recurrent seizures lasting longer than five minutes without stopping on its own or waking up. There are approximately 120,000 to 180,000 episodes of SE in the United States each year.

“This study is incredibly important in treating patients with Established Status Epilepticus safely and effectively,” said Chinwe Ogedegbe, MD, MPH, Section Chief, ETC Research, Hackensack Meridian Health. “At Hackensack University Medical Center, we are proud of our participation in this groundbreaking research that will help save and improve the lives of our patients.

Exception from Informed Consent (EFIC) allows research studies in certain emergency situations to be conducted prior to consent. Meeting this EFIC regulation required extensive effort, including flyer distribution, community meetings, and public disclosure events between the Hackensack University Medical Center research study team and the neighboring community.

“The execution of this study was challenging as it involved multiple levels of regulation, including the use of pocket assistive devices, refrigerated medications in specially designed lock boxes, as well as a specialized regulation under the FDA called EFIC,” said Joseph Underwood, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine, Hackensack Meridian Health. “By using an innovative design for this clinical trial, participating study teams were able to answer this important question in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

Hackensack University Medical Center was one of 58 sites in the nation to participate in this groundbreaking study. The Philadelphia Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials, or Phila-NETT, a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) sponsored network of hub and spoke hospitals conducting emergency neurological research, supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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About Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care, which is comprised of 35,000 team members and more than 7,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center is ranked #2 in New Jersey and #59 in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Hospital rankings and is ranked high-performing in the U.S. in  colon cancer surgery, lung cancer surgery, COPD, heart failure, heart bypass surgery, aortic valve surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, knee replacement and hip replacement. Out of 4,500 hospitals evaluated, Hackensack is one of only 57 that received a top rating in all nine procedures and conditions. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 26 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its sixth consecutive designation in 2019. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: John Theurer Cancer Center, a consortium member of the NCI-designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to THE NORTHERN TRUST PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit





Journal Link: New England Journal of Medicine