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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 4, 2018


Time Is Brain: Treating Status Epilepticus

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When an adult has a seizure or seizures lasting more than a defined time period, they are said to be in status epilepticus, or SE. With an estimated incidence of 15 to 20 cases per 100,000 people, SE is considered the most common neurological emergency around the world, often requiring intensive care. On average, 20% of cases are fatal; a recent review article reported long-term mortality rates as high as 22% in children and 57% in adults.

In 2015, an International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) task force defined the time periods for SE as:

  • 5 minutes for generalized tonic-clonic seizures
  • 10 minutes for focal seizures
  • 10 to 15 minutes for absence seizures


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