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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2012 June;64(3):347-55

language: English

Nonconvulsive status epilepticus in pediatric populations: diagnosis and management

Galimi R.

Department of Neurology, Health Local Unit of Valtellina and Valchiavenna, Sondalo Hospital, Sondrio, Italy


The diagnosis and management of nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) pose special challenges in childhood. NCSE can be defined as a condition of ongoing or intermittent clinical epileptic activity without convulsions, for at least 30 minutes, with electroencephalographic evidence of seizures. NCSE accounts for approximately one-quarter of all cases of status epilepticus. NCSE should be suspected in children with epilepsy who undergo an otherwise inexplicable change in behavior and in children with recent onset change in speech, memory, school performance. NCSE can be observed in acute neurological injuries, specific childhood epilepsy syndromes, individuals with learning difficulties and other neurological conditions. NCSE is not uncommon in pediatric patients with an altered state of consciousness. NCSE in children is thought to be under-recognized. It is a highly heterogeneous clinical condition that is understudied in the pediatric population. Prompt recognition and treatment may be necessary to improve neurological outcome. Based on clinical semiology alone, diagnosis is difficult and requires emergent EEG. Management is often difficult, with highly variable response to treatment. Here I describe the diagnosis and management of NCSE in children.

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