Status epilepticus in children: aetiology, treatment, and outcome


*Department of Paediatrics. Tampere University Hospital. PO Box:2000 Tampere. FIN-33521 Finland.


This retrospective study includes 65 children treated for status epilepticus at Tampere University Hospital in Finland. Aetiology of the condition, effectiveness of the treatment protocol, including short barbiturate anaesthesia to prevent prolonged status epilepticus episodes, and neurological outcome were evaluated. Symptomatic aetiology was present in 40% of status epilepticus episodes, and 37% of episodes were induced by fever. Neurological sequelae secondary to status epilepticus were identified in 15% of the cases and subsequent epilepsy in 23% during the mean follow-up time of 3.6 years. There were no status epilepticus-related deaths. The cut-off point of status epilepticus duration for significant risk for permanent neurological sequelae was 2 hours. Our treatment protocol, including short barbiturate anaesthesia in refractory cases, was able to abort status epilepticus in less than 2 hours in 75% of cases. We conclude that early and prompt use of barbiturate anaesthesia should be encouraged, and may explain our low morbidity figures.