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Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2011 Feb;29(1):15-27. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2010.08.002.

Emergency department seizure epidemiology.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Although only 3% of people in the United States are diagnosed with epilepsy, 11% will have at least one seizure during their lifetime. Seizures account for about 1% of all emergency department (ED) visits, and about 2% of visits to children's hospital EDs. Seizure accounts for about 3% of prehospital transports. In adult ED patients, common causes of seizure are alcoholism, stroke, tumor, trauma, and central nervous system infection. In children, febrile seizures are most common. In infants younger than 6 months, hyponatremia and infection are important considerations. Epilepsy is an uncommon cause of seizures in the ED, accounting for a minority of seizure-related visits. Of ED patients with seizure, about 7% have status epilepticus, which has an age-dependent mortality averaging 22%.

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