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Neurocrit Care. 2007;7(1):86-91.

The role of neurosurgery in status epilepticus.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Neurology, Barrow Neurological Institute/St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, 500 West Thomas Road Suite 400, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA.



Status epilepticus remains a life-threatening condition that afflicts both adults and children which although occurs in patients with epilepsy, often presents as new-onset seizure activity also. Refractory status epilepticus poses a management challenge for neurological and neurosurgical teams.


Subdural grid electrodes were used to record cortical discharges and guide tumor resection involving eloquent cortex and multiple subpial transections in a 48-year-old man with left hemiparesis in status epilepticus. He had been refractory to multiple medical therapies in persistent epilepsia partialis continua for a prolonged period. As an alternative to higher-dose suppressive medical therapy, the patient elected to proceed with subdural grid mapping after seizure semiology ("negative" scalp electroencephalogram) localized the seizure focus to the right hemisphere, motor cortex. Following tumor removal, multiple subpial transections were subsequently performed over large areas of the motor and sensory strips and successfully resolved the status epilepticus.


The patient made an excellent recovery, became seizure free, had improved left-sided strength and was discharged home shortly after.


This case illustrates a potentially life-saving technique for the treatment of refractory status epilepticus. Multiple subpial transections and other neurosurgical intervention should be considered for patients with status epilepticus. When localization with surface electrodes is poor, especially in eloquent cortex, subdural grid recording can be used to direct focal resection and/or multiple subpial transections to minimize neurological deficits. A review and summary of previously published neurosurgery cases for status epilepticus is discussed.

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