Status epilepticus in children: Causes, clinical features and short-term outcome


  • This study was performed at the Department of Pediatrics, Istanbul Goztepe Training and Research Hospital, Ministry of Health, Istanbul, Turkey.

Gulser Esen Besli, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Istanbul Goztepe Training and Research Hospital, Ministry of Health, 19 Mayis M. Sultan S. No: 22/22 Erenkoy/Istanbul, Turkey. Email:


Background:  We aimed to evaluate the cause, clinical profile, and short-term outcome of status epilepticus cases that were admitted to our pediatric emergency unit between 1 January and 31 December 2008.

Methods:  We studied the clinical features of 59 seizures that occurred in 56 patients aged between 3 months and 15 years with the diagnosis of status epilepticus. We observed the clinical course and outcome of 53 cases for 6 to 18 months. The correlation between the cause of the seizure and the patient's age at the time of status epilepticus was evaluated as well as the correlation between the risk of seizure recurrence and family history of seizure, the neurological status of the patient prior to seizure and the presence of epilepsy.

Results:  The most common cause of status epilepticus is febrile illness in children younger than 2 years and idiopathic/cryptogenic and remote symptomatic causes in children older than 2 years. The rate of recurrence of seizure was significantly higher in cases with existing neurological abnormalities, prior epilepsy and seizures with remote symptomatic causes. The most common triggering factors of status epilepticus development in cases with epilepsy were noncompliance for anti-epileptic drugs and infectious fever.

Conclusions:  In our study, the risk factors for seizure recurrence were the presence of prior epilepsy, existence of neurological abnormalities and remote symptomatic causes. We argue that improving the compliance of patients and their families to take medicine appropriately and training them in how to cope with febrile illnesses may decrease the recurrence of seizures.