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Pediatrics. 2012 Sep;130(3):e501-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-0838. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

Unprovoked status epilepticus: the prognosis for otherwise normal children with focal epilepsy.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



To document the effect of unprovoked status epilepticus (SE) on the prognosis for otherwise normal children with focal epilepsy.


From the Nova Scotia Childhood Epilepsy Study (population-based), we identified patients with focal epilepsy, normal intelligence, and neurologic examination and follow-up ≥ 10 years. We compared those with and without unprovoked SE.


One hundred eighty-eight cases had a mean follow-up of 27 ± 5 years with no deaths from SE. Thirty-nine (20%) had SE, 19 of whom experienced their first seizure. The number of episodes of SE was 1 in 27 patients (69%) and 2 to 10 in 12 patients. At onset 9 of 39 (23%) SE patients and 35 of 149 (23%) no-SE patients had specific learning disorders. At follow-up, 11 (28%) SE and 49 (33%) no-SE patients had learning disorders (P = not statistically different [ns]). Grades repeated, high school graduation, and advanced education did not differ. The number of antiepileptic drug (AED) used throughout the clinical course was the same: 22/39 (56%). SE patients used ≤ 2 AEDs versus 99 of 149 (64%) no-SE patients (P = .2). The distribution of patients using 3 to 11 AEDs was similar. The remission rate (seizure-free without AEDs at the end of follow-up) for SE patients was 24 of 39 (61%) versus 99 of 149 (66%) in no-SE (P = .5). Intractable epilepsy occurred in 15% SE and 11% of no-SE cases.


SE often recurs but apparently has little influence on long-term intellectual and seizure outcome in normally intelligent children with focal epilepsy.

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