[Occurrence, causes and clinical characteristics of status epilepsy in adults].Med Pregl. 1998 May-Jun; 51(5-6):254-8.MP
Status epilepticus, particularly grand mal, is one of the gravest and most dramatic conditions in neurology requiring immediate attention. Status epilepticus can occur in epileptic patients, often with higher mortality rates in symptomatic than idiopathic, but also as an initial symptom of a number of neurological and systemic diseases. No data are available on the exact incidence rates of status epilepticus. According to some assessments, 10% of patients have at least one status epilepticus in their lifetime (3,6). The prognosis mostly depends on the main cause, time in which seizures are stopped and age of patients. Latest data available in literature suggest the mortality rate of 2-8%.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We analyzed frequency of hospital admissions, causes and clinical characteristics of status epilepticus in adults. The study was retrospective, based on case histories of epileptic patients from the Intensive Care Unit of the Neurology Clinic in Novi Sad in 1990, 1993 and 1995. Special emphasis was placed on differences in studied parameters between cases confirmed earlier and those with status epilepticus occurring as an initial symptom of some other illness or condition.
Number of hospital admissions rose slightly in the interval observed in comparison with total admissions (0.68% in 1990, 1.24% in 1993, and 1.73% in 1995) (Tabs 1 and 2). During 1993, status epilepticus was more frequent in cases confirmed earlier (69%) compared with the years 1990 (56%) and 1995 (43%) (Graf.1). Epileptic patients were younger on the average than nonepileptic ones (Tab. 3). Status epilepticus occurred more often in male patients (Tab. 4). Irregular treatment was the prevailing cause in epileptic patients (Tab 5). Symptomatic status epilepticus was reported higher in 1990 and 1995, and stroke was definitely the predominant cause (Tab 6). Convulsive grand mal status prevailed in all patients (Graf 2). Focal status was a more frequent finding in nonepileptic patients (Graf 3). Every third in 16 patients died in 1993 and every fifth in 23 in 1995 probably due to the acute destructive brain damage rather than the status itself. No deaths occurred in 1990.
According to research carried out by other authors, half of grand mal status cases occurred in confirmed epileptics (4). In our study the grand mal status was reported in 70.4% cases of epilepsy. Primary cause was abrupt withdrawal of antiepileptic treatment, infections, alcohol abuse and use of convulsive drugs. This is compatible with our results which confirm that grand mal status either primary or with secondary generalization prevail in both groups of patients (7,8,9). In terms of causes of status epilepticus in nonepileptic patients, literature data mainly suggest cerebral trauma, frontal brain tumors, cerebral arteriosclerosis or other vascular disorders and anaphylaxis (4). Our results point to stroke as the major cause of status epilepticus in nonepileptic patients, similar with data presented by Towne (10). There is no data in literature concerning the relation between sex of patients and occurrence of status. In our study status epilepticus occurred more frequently in male patients.
The grand mal status was the major clinical type of status in all patients and was primarily caused by discontinued or irregular antiepileptic treatment in patients with confirmed epilepsy, and by stroke in nonepileptic patients.