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Keywords:

  • clinical practice guidelines;
  • emergency department;
  • research network;
  • seizure;
  • status epilepticus

Aims:  To establish current acute seizure management through a review of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and reported physician management in the 11 largest paediatric emergency departments in Australia (n= 9) and New Zealand (n= 2) within the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) network, and to compare this with Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) guidelines and existing evidence.

Methods:  (i) Review of CPGs for acute seizure management at PREDICT sites. (ii) A standardised anonymous survey of senior emergency doctors at PREDICT sites investigating management of status epilepticus (SE).

Results:  Ten sites used seven different seizure CPGs. One site had no seizure CPG. First line management was with benzodiazepines (10 sites). Second line and subsequent management included phenytoin (10), phenobarbitone (10), thiopentone (9), paraldehyde (6) and midazolam infusion (5). Of 83 available consultants, 78 (94%) responded. First line management of SE without intravenous (IV) access included diazepam per rectum (PR) (49%), and midazolam intramuscular (41%) and via the buccal route (9%). First line management of SE with IV access included midazolam IV (50%) and diazepam IV (44%). The second line agent was phenytoin (88%); third line agents were phenobarbitone (33%), thiopentone and intubation (32%), paraldehyde PR (22%) and midazolam infusion (6%). Fourth line agents were thiopentone and intubation (60%), phenobarbitone (16%), midazolam infusion (13%) and paraldehyde (9%).

Conclusions:  Initial seizure management by CPG recommendations and reported physician practice was broadly similar across PREDICT sites and consistent with APLS guidelines. Practice was variable for second/third line SE management. Areas of controversy would benefit from multi-centred trials.