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J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2013 Oct;12(4):360-6. doi: 10.3171/2013.7.PEDS1388. Epub 2013 Aug 23.

Surgical treatment of refractory status epilepticus in children: clinical article.

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Departments of Neurological Surgery and.



Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) is a life-threatening neurological emergency associated with high morbidity and mortality. Affected patients often require prolonged intensive care and can suffer multiple complications. Surgical intervention to control RSE is rarely used but can obviate the risks of prolonged seizures and intensive care treatment. Authors of the present study analyzed their experience with the surgical management of patients suffering from RSE.


The Epilepsy Surgery Database at Miami Children's Hospital was reviewed for patients who had undergone surgery for RSE. Clinical presentation, electrophysiological profile, radiological data, surgical details, and postoperative course were evaluated.


Between 1990 and 2012, 15 patients underwent surgery for uncontrolled seizures despite high-dose medical suppressive therapy. The mean preoperative duration of status epilepticus was 8 weeks. Ictal SPECT and FDG-PET imaging in conjunction with intraoperative electrophysiological studies helped to outline the extent of resection. Surgical intervention controlled seizures in all patients and facilitated the transition out of intensive care. Adverse events related to a prolonged intensive care unit stay included sepsis and respiratory complications. Four patients had worsened neurological function, developing hemiparesis and dysphasia. There was no operative mortality.


Surgical intervention can successfully control refractory partial status epilepticus, prevent associated morbidity, and decrease intensive care unit stay. Ictal SPECT and PET are valuable in guiding resection.

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