In an ongoing study of status epilepticus, 193 children with status epilepticus of varying causes have been followed up for a mean period of 13.2 months. Of these, 97 patients were recruited prospectively. The patients' ages ranged from 1 month to 18 years (mean, 5.0 years). The cause of the status epilepticus was classified as idiopathic in 46 cases, remote symptomatic in 45, febrile in 46, acute symptomatic in 45, and progressive neurologic in 11. The mortality and incidence of sequelae following status epilepticus was low and primarily a function of etiology. Seven children died within 3 months of having the seizure. New neurologic deficits were found in 17 (9.1%) of the 186 survivors. All of the deaths and 15 of the 17 sequelae occurred in the 56 children with acute or progressive neurologic insults. Only two of the 137 children with other causes sustained any new deficits (P < .001). Duration of the status epilepticus affected outcome only within the acute symptomatic group (P < .05). Neurologic sequelae occurred in 29% of infants younger than 1 year of age, 11% of children 1 to 3 years of age, and 6% of children older than 3 years of age. However, this was a reflection of the greater incidence of acute neurologic disease in the younger age groups. Within each cause, age did not affect outcome. Of the 193 children, 61 (32%) had a history of prior unprovoked seizures. Of the 125 surviving children with no history of prior unprovoked seizures, 37 (30%) had subsequent unprovoked seizures. It is concluded that the morbidity of aggressively treated status epilepticus in children, in the absence of an acute neurologic insult or progressive neurologic disorder, is low.

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