The definition of status epilepticus (SE) is a simple, prolonged seizure or recurrent seizures associated with impaired consciousness for 30 minutes or longer. There are two types of SE: convulsive and nonconvulsive. The latter consists of prolonged absence or complex partial seizures.

SE occurs most frequently in patients younger than 1 year of age and those between 60 and 80 years. Determining the underlying cause of SE is of utmost importance and is directed by the clinical presentation. The differential diagnosis is similar in all age groups, although the frequencies change in the various diagnostic categories. Table 1 delineates some of the leading causes of SE in various age groups.

The differential diagnosis in any age group should include both systemic and central nervous system (CNS)infections; trauma; hypoxia; CNS malformations; ischemic events, including stroke or hemorrhage; and toxic or metabolic causes, including electrolyte imbalance, alcohol use, illicit drug use, and...

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