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Epilepsy Behav. 2006 Sep;9(2):335-8. Epub 2006 Jul 26.

Clinical characteristics of psychogenic nonepileptic seizure status in the long-term monitoring unit.

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Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) mimicking status epilepticus (PNES-status) are at risk of iatrogenic complications. Our aim was to assess whether the population of patients with PNES who develop PNES-status are distinguishable. Retrospectively, we identified patients with PNES-status and compared them with patients with PNES without status and with patients with electroclinical status epilepticus (SE). Of 49 patients with PNES, 9 had PNES-status (18.2%) and 40 had PNES only. Compared with patients with PNES, subjects with PNES-status had taken fewer than three antiepileptic medications (P=0.016), had more than one event per week (P=0.026), were more likely to be admitted emergently to the monitoring unit (P=0.007), had shorter long-term monitoring (LTM) stays (P=0.003), and tended to be diagnosed sooner after initial presentation (P=0.058). Use of fewer than three antiepileptic drugs and emergent admission were independent predictors of PNES-status classification on logistic regression. Of 154 patients with epilepsy, 8 had SE during LTM (5.2%), significantly fewer than the proportion with PNES-status relative to PNES (P=0.008); the only clinical variable distinguishing these two groups was a baseline lower seizure frequency among the patients with epileptic seizures (P=0.045). Our results suggest that patients with PNES-status have features that differentiate them from patients with PNES without status and, to a lesser extent, from patients with epileptic seizures.

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