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Epilepsia. 2011 Oct;52 Suppl 8:53-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03238.x.

Super-refractory status epilepticus: an approach to therapy in this difficult clinical situation.

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UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom.


Super-refractory status epilepticus (SE) is a stage of refractory SE characterized by unresponsiveness to initial anesthetic therapy. It is a new concept that has been the focus of recent basic and therapeutic work, and is defined as "SE that continues or recurs 24 hours or more after the onset of anesthesia, including those cases in which SE recurs on the reduction or withdrawl of anesthesia." It is encountered typically, but not exclusively, in two quite distinctive clinical situations: (1) in patients with severe acute brain injury, and (2) in patients with no history of epilepsy in whom status epilepticus develops out of the blue with no overt cause. There are a variety of treatments used, almost entirely based on open observational studies or case reports. Therapy includes anesthesia, antiepileptic drug therapy, hypothermia and ICU therapy, other medical, immunological, and physical therapies. In this review, the range of possible therapies is outlined and an approach to therapy is discussed.

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