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Approach to the treatment of convulsive status epilepticus in adults

Approach to the treatment of convulsive status epilepticus in adults
This algorithm summarizes our suggested approach to antiseizure treatment for convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) in adults. CSE is defined as a single unremitting seizure lasting >5 minutes or frequent clinical seizures without an interictal return to the baseline clinical state. Along with immediate antiseizure therapy, patients with CSE require simultaneous, rapid initiation of monitoring, including supportive care of airway, breathing, and circulation, and rapid recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia, electrolyte disturbance, poisoning, central nervous system infection, sepsis, and traumatic brain injury. The goal of therapy is to achieve seizure freedom (ie, cessation of clinical and electrographic seizures using continuous EEG). Refer to UpToDate topics on adult CSE for additional details.

EMS: emergency medical services; IV: intravenous; IO: intraosseous; LFT: liver function test; CBC: complete blood count; ASM: antiseizure medication; ICP: inductively coupled plasma; IM: intramuscular; EEG: electroencephalogram; SE: status epilepticus; ICU: intensive care unit; RSI: rapid sequence endotracheal intubation; RSE: refractory status epilepticus; NCSE: nonconvulsive status epilepticus; CSE: convulsive status epilepticus; PE: phenytoin equivalents; LP: lumbar puncture.

* Rapid sequence intubation should be performed if airway, ventilation, or oxygenation cannot be maintained, or if the seizure becomes prolonged.

¶ Refer to UpToDate topics on SE in adults for a complete list of ancillary studies.

Δ Common causes of CSE are listed here. For further discussion of causes of CSE in adults, refer to UpToDate topics on adult CSE.

◊ Usually the ASM used for initial or second therapy, unless an alternative ASM can be tailored to clinical circumstances.

§ Additional evaluation may include neuroimaging if CSE is the first presentation of epilepsy or if there are new focal neurologic findings, signs of head trauma, suspicion for infection, concern for increased ICP, or prolonged duration of depressed consciousness (ie, for >1 to 2 hours after the episode). If there is concern for infection, blood cultures should be obtained and empiric antimicrobials should be started prior to brain imaging, and LP should be performed after a space-occupying brain lesion has been excluded by imaging. For additional details regarding the diagnostic evaluation in patients with CSE, refer to UpToDate topics on adult CSE.

¥ There is no definite maximum cumulative dose of lorazepam; clinicians should be guided by the clinical effect (including on blood pressure) and seizure control.

‡ If IO administration is necessary, levetiracetam may be preferred, based upon clinical experience.

† Phenytoin and fosphenytoin may be less effective for the treatment of seizures due to toxins or drugs and may intensify seizures caused by cocaine, other local anesthetics, theophylline, or lindane. In such cases, levetiracetam, valproate, or phenobarbital should be used. Other clinical considerations in choice may apply (eg, for patients currently receiving an antiseizure medication); refer to UpToDate topics on adult CSE.

** If fosphenytoin is not available, IV phenytoin may be used (20 mg/kg IV; do not exceed 1 mg/kg per minute; maximum rate: 50 mg per minute). Both fosphenytoin and phenytoin require cardiac monitoring.
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